Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Didn't forget today

First thing I did last night was fix my bottles for todays commute to work.
For my friend Darryl in Singapore which didn't let me forget yesterday.

The ride this morning was great. Monday after finding out I had no bottles I slowed down to a crawl not wanting to sweat to much and it took me 2:06. Today I felt ok as soon as I left the house and was't planning on riding tooo hard but then you see a blinking light out in the distance and you start pushing yourself to catch it. Lucky me, there was 3 carrots in front of me this morning. Caught the first one at the bike and hike, mind you it was like low to mid 60's temp and this rider was dressed like it was in the 40's. Jacket, tights, full finger gloves, I'm just wearing my arm warmers and my vest. I got hot just looking at him. He was riding a hybrid and apparently was commuting to work also. I wasn't planning on riding hard this morning but why is it that when you pass commuters or recreational riders they want to show you off. As I rode up to him you could see him starting to pick up the pace and I'm like, ok give me a good workout until you start dying and then I'll pass you. Well, not 3 minutes later he starts to slow down a bit and I pass him and increase the speed, he tries to stay with me but couldn't hold the speed and lost him. I kept going and see more bilinking lights ahead and I'm like let's go get them. This rider was cruising and I had to do a double take because he was riding with what look like flip flops, oh well to each it's own I guess. And finally the last blinking light was about 3 miles from work and caught him too. Wasn't planning on riding this fast or hard but I'm glad I did, took me 1:46 to get to work today, 31.5 hilly miles. I hope the legs are ok for the afternoon commute.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Road Home

The picture below shows one of the last 3 miles of my commute home. It's one long uphill mile at the end of a 60-70 mile round trip commute that I do at least a couple times a week.
I use it as my last interval before getting home. I call it a half interval because by the time I get here I'm basically wasted and all I try to do is get to the top without slowing down. Sometimes fast sometimes slow and sometimes I crawl up the #&%^ thing.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Left the house at 4:45am this morning for my 2hr commute to work on the bike, 6 miles down the road I reach down to grab a bottle to drink and no bottles. I start to panic but calmed down right away, I figured I'll drink at the next metropark picnic area on top of Ridge road and then stop in Brecksville and buy a couple of bottles somewhere. I climbed the hill and get to the picnic area and it was so dark I freaked out, the water spicket is way in the back and it smells like a skunk is near. I decide to keep going to Brecksville and buy water there, to my dismay the baggel place opens at 6am. McDonalds was also closed, Giant Eagle was closed, no vending machines anywhere, don't anybody opens earler that 6am. It's 5:20am am not about to wait 20 minutes for a store to open so I keep going and I'm thirsty. My next water stop is in the Bedford Reservation at the Rangers shack and I was hoping the bathroom would be open and it was. I drank enough for two people and kept going, Now my stomach is telling me I drank too much. Finally I made it to work and as of this moment I don't feel that bad. Let's see how the commute home feels this afternoon. Think ...Dummy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Muggy morning

Just rolled in in to work and what a muggy morning. I started sweating the minute I left the house. Made it with plenty of time to spare. Cleaned up, changed and just finished breakfast, a nice big baggle with pbj. my daily smoothie and a muffin. that should hold me until 11am when I start getting ready to go home. Man, only two more weeks of half Fridays, I'm going to miss the half day off but I'm not going to miss working until 5pm everyday.
Later, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Who's the real cyclist

Now, you have to agre with me that the only real looking cyclist in this picture is the guy in the middle, ME. They are trying hard to look as good as me, keep trying boys you'll never look as good as me in cycling clothes, or any type of clothing for that matter. Not even "al natural", still got you beat.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

112 miles and a lot of climbing

Traveled to West Virginia this weekend to participate in The Cheat Mountain challenge with the "Ho" and 223 other masochists. 10,000 feet of climbing in 106 miles. We stayed at the top of the mountain at a small chalet like apartment with a nice loft. Friday we met up with Juergen and Angelica for dinner and to talk all times and new times. It was good to see them and chat for a while.

Sorry, my camera sometimes doesn't know how to take pictures.

Saturday we were up at 6am got ready and rode to the start a mile from were we were staying. A controlled start down to the base of the mountain for the real start which was split in two groups. I had asked for the early start but they gave me the later start, whatever the start it was going to be the same suffering.

The start took us on another road on the side of the mountain for about a deceiving flat mile and then about a 3 mile climb and another 2-3 mile descent were I caught up to the guys that out climbed me or lets just say went out too fast. The descent was just what I like, lots of hairpin turns and fast. I even caught up to the cars ahead of us and wanted to pass them but for fear of a head on collision with a car coming the other way it was best I stayed behind them. A long nice road with some rollers and short climbs took us to the first rest stop where I waited for Joe. Joe's descending skills are a little slower than mine. Ah, what the heck he just can't descend, let go of the brakes man. After that it was just some more rollers and short climbs until we turned into Watoga State park, then the climbing started with a long gradual climb that got very steep as it got closer to the next rest stop at the top with several sections at 8%. Which the signs let you know, thanks for the warning Watoga S.P. After another stop at the top to pee and refuel we hit the descent with lots of switchbacks and haipin turns, just what I like, nice black top and lots of speed. Again Joe burned the brake pads on the way down I could smell them a mile away. If you thought you had climb a lot you were wrong, after the descent the real climbing started with a couple of rollers and a 7 mile climb to the Cranberry visitor ctr. We took a right hand turn here into the Scenic Parkway and another 3 miles of climbing and about a mile descent and some false flats.

We stopped at the rest stop to refuel and get ready for the home stretch. About a mile or so of false flats took us to one of the most fun parts of the ride, a 3 mile descent where my max speed held for a while at 46mph. Wow, was that a lot of fun, the speed limit was 40mph.
Wat goes down must go up (or is it the other way around) Before the last climb,I have to say that this was the second most grueling climb of the day, 3 miles straight up with no brake I'll say at 6-8%, even Joe which was climbing like a mountain goat and I was having a hard time keeping up with him, agreed. One of the most rewarding moments of this ride is when you pass riders that went out too fast at the beggining and you say hello or just ask how they are doing and they can't even respond and you just keep going a bit energized. It may sound mean but you would understand if you did this ride, so don't judge me if you haven't done the ride. Another 2 mile descent at 40+ again took us to the last 20 miles before the "BIG" climb. The last 10 miles before the climb both of us felt like we were giving it everything we had and we couldn't hit 15 miles an hour. It was like we were pulling a trailer full of cement. about 5 miles from the bottom of the climb the sponsors oft the climb had sprayed painted a nice "look up" sign on the road and this is what they wanted you to see,

what was waiting patienly for you, thats Snowshoe ski resort.
We made it to the last rest stop, we dumped one bottle and kept one for the climb. 6 miles to the top, at this moment I told Joe that if he felt strong to go for it and not wait for me. I wasn't feeling like the first time I did the ride, where my legs seized up 1/4 up the climb and had to fight to stay on the bike, but I wasn't going to keep up with him. I stayed with Joe (or close to him) and another rider for about 2 miles or until the steepest parts of the climb hit, at this moment I tried to keep a sensible pace that would take me to the finish. When I saw the Village sign that said 2.5 miles, I almost stopped to kiss it. It is at this moment that you start watching your garming for signs that the 2.5 miles are getting shorter, after watching my Garmin and not see it moving I had enough and turned it to a different screen. The last mile the volunteers where out in force banging the cowbells cheering you to the finish line. I can't say enough about the volunteers, they do everything they can to make you feel great, they fill up your water bottle, hold the bike for you, anything you want(almost everything, be careful what you ask for) name it and they do it. Don't know what the official time was yet, I was looking for under 8 hrs or under 7:46 which was what I did the first time I did the ride. The ride time alone was under 7:30 not counting the stops.
It was the best I've seen Joe climb, he was a machine, I should've of just keep going on the descents and make him work hard to catch me to drain his energy. Seriously, he rode a great ride and his climbing was excellent.

Some of the roads and climbs are just like what you see in the Tour the France.
And no, this is not a bike path, it is actually a two lane road that looks like a bike path.
You can see how wide it was in the picture below when you see Joe on the right side of the road.
Two full size SUV's don't fit side by side.

The "HO" on one of the climbs, sorry but trying to climb and take pictures at the same time with no hands on the handlebar is hard.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The weeks

Since the race in NC I've been riding every other day to rest the elbow. It is still very tender and I can feel the vibration of the road through the handlebars. I still haven't been off road since the race and I have two more off road races I want to do in October and November, I should be ok by then. It feels a lot better everyday. I know is tender when I forget to wear the elbow guard and place the elbow on the desk at work "ouch". Today the "HO" and I are driving to Snowshoe Resort in West Virginia for the Cheat ride tomorrow. I hope all the miles I've put in so far are enough because I really haven't done any rides longer han 65 miles in the last 3 weeks and the ride is 108 and 10,000 feet of climbing. The last and first time I did this ride it rained for 80 miles and the temps were in the high 50's to low 60's for most of the ride. And what hurts the most is the last 6 miles, straight up to the resort. The weather is supposed to be in the low 70's for the weekend, PERFECT.
After the ride we'll enjoy a couple of brews and I'm looking forwards to a good slab of ribs. They have a Blue Grass festival at the resort this weekend and lots of BBQ food. Just what I need after a ride, lots of protein.
It'll be good to see my friend Juergen at the ride too, he's coming in from Baltimore where he lives now. I'm looking forward to turn his legs into noodles when we go up the first mountain.

I'm always talking about the "HO" but never show pictures, we'll here is one picture. He even
looks like a real rider but he's still a "HO"
Off to WV. look for a post and pictures on Sunday.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

First real hot summer day

Finally we are having a real hot summer day. I'm not complaining I like the way this summer has been not too hot. 90's humid and the heat index at 105% make it a classic summer day.

I'm always good for a smile

I went out for a ride at 1:00 and put in 3 hours in the hottest part of the day. Didn't ride too hard, I didn't want to overheat. I was surprise at how many people were out riding, usually when the really hot weather hits everybody runs indoors and come out in the evening.
The elbow is starting to feel better and look better although it is still swollen.

Tomorrow I'll hit the gym in the morning and ride for one hour in the evening. I need to do some yard work and finish moving all the stuff back in the basement after the new carpet was installed. Talk about the new carpet, one day after it was installed the water tak busted but I had sealed the closet wood frame where the tank is with tar and the water didn't seep out to the carpet, talk about luck.
Friday the "Ho" and I travel to West Virginia for the "Cheat Mountain Ride", 106 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing with a Blue Grass music festival afterwards. I hear BBQ ribs calling me.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Elbow happenings

Rode for the first time yesterday and today since the race two Sundays ago, a little over 70 miles for the two days. The elbow is feeling a lot better but any little bump on the road I can feel it and I still can't pull too hard on the handlebar. But, I can bend it and touch my head and face now so, it is getting better. What a difference not doing anything for a week makes, I've been in a little bit of pain the last two days trying to regain what I lost. You don't really loose that much in a week but you can feel something is missing. I'll be riding everyday for the next 10 days getting ready for the Cheat ride in West Virginia, 10,000 feet of climbing in 106 miles. This is going to be a piece of cake compared to 11,000 feet of climbing in 62 miles during the ORAMM race.