Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cross training

Tired of not doing anything for 3 days and taking steroids for my back I decided to go break in the x country skis even though I'm not supposed to be doing anything for another 2 days. I hit the trail at 7:05 am and it was still dark. I really didn't want anybody to see me go head first into the snow. I only fell 3 times. When I x ski back in the 80's my turns weren't that good but I knew how to turn on slow downhills. i even did a race or two back then. We'll, I'm going to have to go many more times to get the hang of it again because I could not turn, hence the reason for my falls. After a mile or so the fluidity of it started to come back. It feels so good to slide on the snow or just lean forward and let it go on the downhills. I even had a hard time trying to snowplow myself to a stop. That's why the trees are there, just make sure you are not going too fast. I'll just have to go to the golf course where is flat. It was cold, 10 degrees to be exact. I had enough clothes on for two people but didn't feel uncomfortable. I was so anxious to hit the trail that I forgot the heater packs for my mittens and my fingers where like ice and had to stop often to rub them. When you are alone on the trail all you hear is your breath and the sound of the skis sliding on the snow. If you never x country ski, try sometime. And don't let them tell you x country skiing is for women like somebody I know told me. Maybe I should just let his wife know what type of a guy he is and I'm sure she'll fix him. And when I say fix, I mean "fix", right Lemont. That's not his real name but I know he'll get it. Tomorow we are getting a heat wave, 35 degrees. Time to go out for a ride. They are expecting a little snow but should be good riding weather for this time of the year. I'll take 35 degrees the whole month of February which is not going to happen, temps are going back into the teens and 20's next week with more snow on the way, wohooooo. I might sound like I'm contradicting myself here but now that I'm x skiing again, give me both.

What really happened

Do you believe, I do.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The joys of winter

This is what I call a man's winter.

Kokopelli memories

In weather like today, these pictures make me feel better.
We did the Kokopelli ride a couple of years ago. It was actually our second year in a row.
Beautiful country. 145 miles from Fruita Colorado to Moab Utah. With a lot of miles riding next or very close to the Colorado river.

Lots of wild cattle roaming around.

None of my so called "friends" wanted to ride with me on this day. Can't figure it out, I wonder if it was the sponge Bob jersey I was wearing, hmmm.

I think this is Ken cranking it up one of the many steep parts of the ride.

The La Sal mountains in the background.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

And the wife said...

But before we go into that here's what I'm taking for my back. Every row of pills is one day. Steroids, that stuff is wicked. I'm already starting to feel better. There's two pages of warnings for the stuff. I did my last two classes of spinning today and I'm taking the next 4 days off. I'll be doing nothing, nada. It's already bothering me just thinking about not doing a thing for 4 days. Hopefully the stuff will work and I won't have to see a back specialist. This is nothing compared with the herniated disk I had in 01. I'll not wish that pain to my worst enemy. Anyhow where was I? Oh yes, well last night after I went to bed my wife read the blog (at least somebody does) and said that she told me she had taken two tylenol tablets and felt better and that's why she execised. Hmm makes me think but not say anything because I know better. I believe her she took the two tylenol thinking about what I said and there you have it, the rest of the story. She's such a great woman, she even said that tomorrow both her and Jenny (my daughter) will shovel and fire up the snow blower for me since I have a bad back I can just stay nice and warm inside the house. Now, if you belive that, the Brooklyn bridge is for sale again and it has your name on it. When the snow ends tomorrow night, we couold have up to 11 inches on the ground. And I'm so happy, Saturday I'm breaking in my new x country skis. Early morning trip so nobody will see me fall and hopefully by the end of the first lap I'll have remember how to look good without being good.

Monday, January 26, 2009

One more thing

One more thing and I'm done for tonight. You may want to take a look at the new blog I added to my blog list "Up in Alaska". We think we are tough riding in 20 degree weather, check this girl out. Also in my favorites you'll find bakablog this a blog from a rider I met in PR last October.
But don't forget who your favorite blogger is.

Easy Week

This is supposed to be my easy week. I'm trying 3 hard weeks and 1 week easy and see how my training goes. So far so good. this week comes at the right time. I went to see the doctor for my back again today and I knew something was up when he looks at me straight in the eyes and says " you are not going to like this, but you need to take it real easy for the next 5 days". The pain has been geting worse and the drooling pills (muscle relaxers) he gave me 4 weeks ago didn't do anything. My right side is inflamed and he put me on the 5 day dose of steroids plus a few x rays even though he said the x rays are not going to show anything. I have some type of disk problem, hopefully my Physical Therapist son will read this and come running home to help his dad with some therapy, you reading this? Anyway, two summers ago my doc. said the same thing to me when I had a bit of problem with my right hip flexor muscle, actually it was a big problem and riding up to 200 miles a week didn't help. It only got better when fall and winter finally arrived and I rode less. I called the cavalry to sub my spinning classes and I'll take it easy the rest of the week. Which means I may not go out and give my new cross country skis the first workout. Hmmm, I don't know about that. Hey they say steroids make you irritable, maybe I can irritate my lovely wife enough that she'll kick me out and tell me to go ski and give her some peace and quiet. She does her part to be in good phisical shape. She likes to do the elliptical and the treadmill and she's been running for a while. I try to give her encouragement all the time. Like today, she's saying I don't feel good, not tonight honey I have a headache. What a good husband to do, I tell her is just another excuse not to exercise. First she gives me a dirty look says a few things and the next thing I now I hear the elliptical going, guilty, guilty, guilty.Yesterday when I came in with my new skis the first thing she tells me is, "you paid how much for two sticks", sticks she called my skis. I just had to shake my head and almost laugh.How did I jump to this subject when I was talking about my back. I'm writing the same way I talk, jumping from here to there and everywhere. Let's see what the week on steroids brings me. I hope the dope control officers don't show up at my door and make me pee in a cup.I'll keep you posted on the irritability meter. They also say steroids make you gain weight because you feel like eating all the time. I'll have to keep and eye out for that. All of the sudden I have the urge to eat ice cream with M & M's on top. Got a go, I'll write again tomorrow.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Time for another sport

This mornings workout consisted of a 10 minute warm up 45 minutes at 85 rpm's and a 5 minute cool down on the trainer. It was 12 when I got up to get the newspaper. I'm getting good at drinking coffee while driving. This time I even added reading main page, sports and the travel section are my favorites. Two cups of coffee later I was done. Some floor work strech, shower and I'm ready for breakfast.
After churh I went to appalachian outfitters and purchased a new pair of x country skis. It's been a while since I've been on a pair of skis. I used to do a race or two a year back in the 80's so it's been more that the 8-10 years I thought. I'm still going to try to get on my skating skis but I need new bindings and I really wanted a new pair of classic skis which are the diagonal type. Below you'll see my new and old skis. Now I can ski right after work a couple of days a week and Saturday afternoons. After I got home I went back downstarirs for one more hr on the trainer.
My goal was 12 hrs on the bike this week, I put in 11. Next week is 12 hrs again , if you don't put a number out there you don't reach out to it. You have to have a goal and the desire to attain that goal. JUST DO IT.

Oh yeah, time for snow sports. We still have February to go and it doesn't look like the snow is going to melt. You'll not see grass until March.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Today's workout

I get up 4 days a week at 4;06 am to go to the gym. Yes 4:06, why you may ask, because it sounds better than 4 or 4:05. I do weights, plyometrics and my spinning classes.
Since my goal for this week is 12 hrs on the bike I decided to stay home and do a good hr in zones 2-3 plus some core work. Got up got the coffee going and I was on the trainer by 4:17 am. Not until I went back upstairs and poured myself a good cup of coffee that I started feeling alive.
I don't recommend drinking coffee before a workout but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. And that's because I didn't have time to wait or make a espresso in my new espresso machine which I'm getting to be an expert at it and it keeps me wired baby.
You know there's a lot of informartials early in the morning. It's amazing how many channels were showing the male enhancement informatial. Hey if you need something like that get up early to ride your bike turn the tv on and surf the channels, it's all there even the ladies giving their testimonies, all they can do is giggle. I may not need any coffee to ride the trainer this early in the morning, honey I'm home. I'm already home, honey I'm going up. whoohooooooooo. Don't hold me back baby.

Some good recovery stuff from hammer nutrition a cold shower and I'm set.

The days vitamins and pills. I have to re-order there's a few bottles missing from this picture.

The best for last. A loaded smoothie and I'll really be wired for the rest of the day.
And yes, that's the weather channel showing todays temp. at 39 which it actually went up to 43. But take a good look at tomorrow (saturday) and the rest of the week. And I thought i would be able to ride outdoors this week. Time to dust off my cross country skis. Which I haven't used in 8-10 years. Hopefully I can find my XC ski shoes I don't even remember what they look like.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What happened during my commute one day last year

Since it's a Tales From The Commute blog I'll tell you a story of something that happened to me last summer.
When I commute to work I get up at 4am, (yes 4am) I get ready and I'm out the door by 5.
Lights on, blinkers on you name it. Hey, I want to be seen. My friend Tom says that he doesn't like to ride behind me because I look like a Christmas tree. I can't remember but I think it's 5-6 blinkers in total, it's dark out there you know. Anyway since it was summer it's already clear out by 6am which is the time I'm hitting the bike and hike of route 82 here in Ohio. It's about a 3 mile ride to the next road on the path. There's all kinds of birds, deer, the occasional skunk and yes those pesky little wabbits. One warm morning they were all over the place running next to me in front of me and darting in front of me. Well this particular one wasn't very smart, he decided to run next to me and then cross to the other side of the path. He made what could be called a fatal mistake, he turned at the wrong time and went straight through my spokes. What a sight fur flying all over the place. I never stopped I didn't want to know or see what happened to the little dummy but I don't think he survived the encounter with the wheel, I had to wipe my bike when I got to work if you know what I mean. I'll be carrying a camera during my commute this year and if it happens again I'll stop and you'll get to see what happened to him.
Got to go, it's a half hour past my bed time.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Moab pictures

This bridge was a historic landmark. it was the only way over the Colorado river for many miles.
It burned last year by a man made fire. It sure was a beautiful sight.

Canyonlands National Park

Huge slab of rock we found during one of our rides next to
Arches National Park.

Canyonlands National Park

Guys, come on. Have some class. Like Ray hiding behind the bushes.

Remember the Sinclair dinosaur? Randy took this picture somewhere in Nebraska,
Notice how is chained.Hmm wonder why.

Last October

Last October we went to Puerto Rico with our very good friends Ken and Karen and had a great time. Notice how Ken always wants to look like me. We are both wearing the Rain Ride t shirt.
Sometimes we wonder if we were related in another life or something. I'll say 80% of the time we are thinking about the same thing. Oh yeah, that is my lovely wife standing in front of Ken.
That's my Cavaliers hat, goes with me everywhere is not COLD. I'll give anything to be sitting on one of those rocking chairs right now.

Tonights workout

I really didn't want to do anything tonight, I'm quite sore from doing a few cyclo-core floor exercises yesterday. Specially my butt muscles and my hamstrings. plus this mornings workout consisting of upper body weights and plyometrics. I ended up doing 1:15 on the trainer.
Did the cts mtb dvd and another 15 minutes of easy spinning.
The five long spikes are 2 minutes max effort. Which today I could only manage 168 hr. It's a sign of tiredness. Not much rest tomorrow either with two spinning classes and weights for the legs. Must be all the snow shoveling training I've been doing.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Too cold to walk the dog

With temps in the single digits, make sure you take care of your pets. Too cold to walk the dog, take him downstairs to the treadmill for his daily exercise.

The ToadKing and his Coquitiers

Not much to report, other than I have added snow shoveling to my daily training, wohooooo.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


My first race this year is April 25 in Tennesse called the Cohutta 100 but I'm only doing the 65.

It's two races in one, 100 and 65 miles off road. Lots of climbing and forest roads, but it also includes about 35 miles of sweet single track. My plan is to do 2-3 65 milers and a few shorter ones for training. Hopefully I'll be able to keep it up the whole season. The last two years were washouts. In o7 I had a hernia and a torn muscle in my hip that never got better because I never stopped riding. And last year in June I got hit with walking Pneumonia and anemia at the same time and it really got me good. I tried to come back too hard too soon and paid the price. All I could do was ride for fitness and fun, which isn't bad.

I'm also planning a trip to Colorado and Wyoming at the end of July to race the Laramie Enduro a 70 mile off road race that starts at 7,000 feet altitude and goes as high as 8500.

The final race is in October in my home town in Puerto Rico and it's a 12 hr. off road race.

I'll have my schedule finalized soon, in the mean time, dream of warmer weather.

I took this picture from the dinner table at a sea food restaurant in my home town during Christmas in 2007. Now I look at this from my home in Ohio. 6 inches on the ground and more coming. Yes I'll like to be in a warmer place, but I really enjoy winter. I like to hike in winter. The silence is incredible and everything looks beautiful.I feel like crying, give me a warm place that I can ride in shorts and short sleeves right now.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Don't be like LA, stick with the program

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dreams of warmer weather

How would you like to be holding a tropical drink and looking at this from a hammock right now.
Instead of this from the seat of your car on the way to work.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Today was a good day

It had been at 9 days since my last day off, so I took yesterday off and it refreshed me. I usually take Wednesdays off but I was trying to take advantage of the holidays. Didn't sleep well last night but when the alarm went off at 4:06am I was up with no problem. 50 minutes later I was done. upper body weights, plyometrics and lots of core work. I have a bad back and core work is important. If it wasn't cause of it, I don't think I would be able to ride as much as I do. I already had to stop running because of the pounding my back takes during running.

In the pm I do the trainer. Mondays is one of the hardest days of the week.

10 minute warm-up

5-4-3-2 of 30 seconds trying to reach the highest heart rate I can, 30 seconds off

That's 5 minutes, 4 minutes and so on with 1:30 off after every set.

After that is 5 minutes recovery and then 5 x2 minutes max and 2 minutes recovery. By the last one I'm almost begging for mercy and my mind is telling me it's ok to stop now. 10 minute cool down, strech and I'm ready for dinner.

Tools of the trade, my trainer bike on the trainer.
Tomorrow is going to be a long day, 3 spinning classes, one in the morning and 2 in the evening. Oh yeah, did I mention I'm a spinning instructor. That's how I get to buy all my cycling needs, plus I'm doing something I like. Better get ready, spend time talking with the other half and get some rest.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tools of the trade

I like winter riding, I just wish I didn't have to wear so many clothes. 28 degrees when I started and sunny wich makes it feel a lot better that if it was cloudy. It was 28 at my house but once you ride down to the park the temp drops, it was 25.

There was a few other riders enjoying the sun and dry roads. It was either that, or the trainer.

It's always easier to put in two hours or more outside that it is to do even one hr on the trainer.

Friday, January 2, 2009

First One

Well, I finally created a blog (if you can call it that)
This is all new for me so be patient for a long time while I try to to get a handle on this blog thing.
I read a few cycling blogs and I thought it would be fun to create my own. I commute to work 2-4 days a week March through October hence the name of the blog "Tales From The Commute"
My commute is 64 to 75 miles depending which way I go home in the afternoon. Sometimes is a
"nice' commute others it's just a drag. So I thought that writing down the days commute would be fun. For all of you that commute to work, you know what I'm talking about, all the things you see and feel. You see a car coming and you feel a beer bottle, a pop can and many other things. and that's only when you see the car coming, what about when you don't see them. Oh, I forgot hear too, like blowing the frigging horn next to you and telling you to ride the path. well excuse me and bite me too you ignorant. This time of the year is fun to ride outdoors, they don't know if you are waving at them or giving them the bird if you wear mittens. Which I do must of the time since my hands suffer a lot, just like my toes that's why I bought the Pearl Izumis winter shoes. Best winter shoes I ever had, I rode Thursday January1st for 1.5 hrs in 28 degree weather plus a little wind and when I got back home my toes where just getting cold. In the past, wearing my Sidis winter shoes my toes where toast, I mean ice blocks after a half hour on the bike, which leads to a very uncomfortable ride.
Well I think I wrote enough for my first post. I need to learn how to download pictures and whatever other things you do in a blog. The blog will look better as the days go by.

The commuter