Monday, December 31, 2012

Last Post of 2012

Well. I've gotten in three or four garage rides since my last post and finally got to my 5000 mile goal for the year. The final score: 194 bike rides for 5,021 miles. I rode .25 mph faster this year, which may or may not mean anything depending on the comparability of the rides.

I did a very nice metric century in Tennessee where I chased down, however briefly, some famous pro riders, completed four of six stages of Cycle Montana before falling ill, and lost about 15 pounds give or take. I also rode up Glendora Mountain Road outside of Los Angeles on the 4th of July and met Volosong and Mr Beanz on that ride. Videos and photos can be seen by scrolling back through the blog pages so I won't repost them here.  Well maybe just one (that little line behind me is the road up GMR, by the way):

I've been on prescription testosterone supplementation for nearly a year now and  almost feel like I've been aging in reverse. Middle aged men, get tested!

It has been a very darn good year. In 2013 I'm going to a week-long cycling camp in Rimini, Italy and will ride up Passo Gavia in mid-July. We're also going to see a stage of the Tour de France, the one on Mont Ventoux. More on that soon. For now thanks for reading and Happy New Year. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The End of the Year Draws Near

Well, it's been a few hundred miles of mostly uneventful rides since my last post and it will soon be time to wrap things up for the year. My longest ride since the last post has been about 37 miles, so certainly I've done nothing epic. And I haven't been anywhere to ride either.

But there are two things worth talking about. First, I've started back running a little on the indoor track at work. I've lost enough weight to be able to do this, at least at a very easy and slow level. I kind of figured at my age "if not now, when"?  It went well until a severe calf cramp/strain put me down for a week. But I like running and intend to continue to run once a week or so.

A second at least somewhat noteworthy thing to report is that we have begun indoor training in the "Velo Garage" again. Here in Omaha outdoor riding can be limited by cold weather and winter is a good time to put in some intense work on the indoor trainer.

I reported on this at some length last year. The crew consists almost entirely of faculty and staff at the university where I work, and we generally meet twice weekly between about Thanksgiving and Easter. The sessions are usually under an hour and never more than 90 minutes, and they are designed by "Coach Dusty" a Ph.D. in exercise physiology.
I use a power meter in the indoor training sessions, which gives an objective measure of the work output for each ride, beyond just what a heart rate monitor could provide. The indoor sessions were very productive for me last year and I know they made me a stronger rider. Here's a sample workout:
My fellow travelers in the Velo Garage this year in addition to Dusty are John:
Jeff and Griff:

And Dusty's wife Megan will also be riding sometimes. Mavic is our official Mascot.
This is what the output from my power meter looks like in case you haven't seen such. Right click to see larger versions of the pictures.

I am going to post at least one more time before the end of the year to review what's been accomplished in 2012 and maybe talk about what lies ahead in 2013. (Hint: I'm going to Italy to ride.... the pics should be great!) Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

October Part 2- Adventures in Dairyland

For some time now, a fellow Bikeforums member and I have been trying to work out a weekend meeting in Dodgeville, WI, about an hour west of Madison. It's about a six hour drive from my home in Omaha. Dodgeville is a pretty small town and is the corporate home of the Land's End clothing company. It hosts several significant regional cycling events each year including the well-known Dairyland Dare

Michael lives in Chicago and has ridden in the Dodgeville area several times. We have several common cycling interests and expected to be reasonably well-matched for ability. (This turned out to be mostly correct, though in truth he is a little stronger.)

Our plan finally came together in late October. I arrived on Saturday the 20th in time for a short ride through the Governor Dodge State Park. After Michael's arrival, we had dinner in the great little artsy town of Mineral Point, WI and then crashed in the marginal and just okay, but cheap, Pine Ridge Motel in Dodgeville.

Sunday dawned cool, crisp, and sunny with little wind... a nearly perfect day to ride. Michael had mapped the area ahead of time and I just put myself in his hands and followed along through what would turn out to be some of the nicest rural roads a rider could ever want. Riding in the Dodgeville area was all I expected and more!

As you can see, the terrain in this area is not exactly flat. The climbs tend to be short and relatively steep and they do add up as the miles go by. The roads are smooth and very lightly traveled and drivers in the area are used to seeing cyclists on the roads.

There were good places to stop for coffee and snacks along the way and we returned to this little place for lunch after finishing our ride. It was pretty busy in the afternoon with a Packers game on the TV. Here are a few more landscape and action shots of our ride.

 Graveyard at a country church

We ended up with about 46 miles ridden and 3000 feet of climbing for the day. Not far from the end, we climbed Roberts Road, reputed to be the hardest hill in Wisconsin. Michael had never ridden up it before, but we both made it and it was hard for sure.

 Below: friendly native

The last seven or eight miles of the ride were done on a crushed limestone rail-trail that took us back into Dodgeville in time to have lunch and drive home, arriving at a reasonable hour.
This was one of my most enjoyable cycling days ever, and I expect to return to Dodgeville once or twice a year from now on. And I enjoyed Michael's company a lot too. Thanks, Mike!

Lunchtime rehydration

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Catching Up: October Riding Was Good

Well, once again I have not kept up with my blog very well. It's time to catch up a bit. Since my last post I've ridden 1534 miles. Most of it was routine local rides in the 30 mile range and not particularly blogworthy I guess. In mid September I went through a serious loss of MoJo, riding so unbelievably slow that I could hardly believe the readout on my Garmin. I didn't feel all that bad but just could not make any power. Fortunately a few days of rest did the trick and the mysterious malady went away. I've been riding pretty well ever since, even in the wind that is so prevalent in Nebraska this time of year.

A Ride With Dan B

Early in October I got a surprise email from a Bikeforum friend, Dan B. Dan is a long haul trucker who rides bikes, and a year or so ago I advised him to try the Wabash Trace Trail in Council Bluffs, IA if he ever had a layover there. He finally had that chance and we wet up for dinner in Omaha on October 1 and had a great afternoon/evening ride on October 2. I had never met Dan before but we hit it off pretty well riding up to Silver City and back, finishing at the trailhead about 9:00 PM. The after-dark part of the ride was especially nice, with near perfect weather. Pie was enjoyed afterward at the truckstop. Here are a few pics:

Picking up Dan at his home away from home

 Dan B and Billydonn at Margaritaville

 These pics are taken at "Margaritaville" a party site along the Wabash Trace Trail
Dan leaving the Mineola Steakhouse after dinner
Sunset in downtown Mineola, IA
I bailed Dan out... just kidding! ;)
 Post-ride pie at the truckstop
Nice video of our ride by Dan B

I guess that catches me up through early October. I do have more semi-noteworthy stuff to report and will ad another post tonight. It was a pretty good month.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cycle Montana 2012- Part 2

Day 4- Fairmont Hot Springs, MT to Phillipsburg, MT: 41 Miles

Readers Note: You can enlarge pictures by clicking them.

Wind was the main feature of the day on day four of our trip. We rode for about 30 miles directly into a substantial wind, and I won't say it made the day miserable... but it was a hard, blustery day that included about 2,000 feet of climbing on the way up to Georgetown Lake, a big ice fishing area I am told.  Click here for the STRAVA feed for the day's ride.

 The first highlight of the day was the water stop in Anaconda, which was at a little park/tourist center. As you can see, I started having more trouble with the rear tire on Old Reliable. The problem turned out to be a faulty rim strip, which was promptly replaced by Joe, the tour mechanic. Larry was ever vigilant offering moral support was we waited for the repair.

 The ride from Anaconda up to Georgetown Lake was a real grind into the wind and lunch beside the Lake was scenic but pretty windswept. You will note that most everyone was wearing a jacket. There was an optional 30 mile leg of the ride up to a local sapphire mine but, due to the windy conditions, I don't think many people took it.

After lunch at the Lake, the road soon dropped a very twisty 800 feet in a three mile stretch, which you can see starting at mile 30 on the STRAVA elevation graph. Man, I'm glad we did not have to ride up that! It was a simple and much more enjoyable glide from there on down to the great little tourist town of Phillipsburg, where, motels, ice cream shops and other elements of civilization could be found.

Phillipsburg also had a hospital, which would turn out to be a good thing.

Day 5- Phillipsburg to Ovando, MT: About 65 miles

I did not ride my bike on days five and six, because overnight in Phillipsburg I had a very painful hemorrhoid attack, my first serious one in ten years. Thanks to the guys on duty at the Granite County Medical Center in Phillipsburg, I got some medication that allowed me to at least ride along in the support vehicles for the next two days. 

The day five ride to the remote little town of Ovando (no motels, camping required) was something I'm really sorry to have missed. But I did get some nice photos while riding along in the baggage truck.

Ovando is really remote and has a population of about 80, so our group just about doubled the population of the place for one night. I managed to finagle sleeping in the middle school gym, which was nice because I didn't have to pitch my tent. I was still pretty tired from a pretty sleepless night before in Phillipsburg. Ovando was very nice and I tried to get some good pics. 

The ladies of Ovando held a nice ice cream social for us. 

This is the group campsite before dinner on day five. The food, as always, was really very good.

Day 6- Ovando, MT to Missoula: About 60 miles
I was bumped from my scenic perch in the baggage truck for day six and spent the day in one of the support cars. But I did manage to get a few pictures. Here are some taken around camp.

And here are a few pics of other riders.

The final day's route took the group back into Missoula and by the offices of Adventure Cycling. A lot of riders stopped there for ice cream and to see the national offices of the organization.

Well, as I said to begin my previous post, mission "mostly accomplished". It was a good time even though things did not go exactly as planned for me. Montana, I'll see you again soon!