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Friday, December 16, 2011

Megan Baab

One of my son's team mates from Lees-McRae College (LMC), Megan Baab, was killed yesterday in a cycling accident with a car while on a solo training ride. My son called me last night to tell me. He had had lunch with Megan the day he left to come home for the holidays. It is so sad. She had a bright future as a cyclist and was a freshman at LMC.

Here is a link to an article in the Watauga Democrat. There are several posts to this article some of which really touch the heart. The comment below says a lot. I wonder if it is from her dad.
To all of you that have posted your concerns, THANK YOU from the bottoom of my heart! Megan was a wonderful daughter. My daughter loved riding her bike and did it to the best of her ability! She loved to compete and loved being at Lees McRae! This is a very sad time for us all, but we are all blessed to have her in our life! Megan will be missed and I will miss her on our rides together so much! Remember , she died doing what she loved! WE are blessed with her memories! Chris Baab

As a dad I can totally relate. I love riding bikes with my son; it is always the highlight of my day. It is interesting that he points out she died doing what she loved, riding bikes.

And then there are these two posts:
Heaven has a special place for LMC cyclist!
The streets are gold in heaven. Ride on...
It has been a tough year for Less-McRae College when it comes to loosing cyclist.

As I tried explaining to my son last night, we all take a risk when we ride our bikes on the road. It is a risk that I am keenly aware of and accept. I love riding my bike. I didn't know Megan, but it sounds like Megan loved riding her bike too. I do know that she will be missed.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Riding Rollers

I rode the rollers last night for the first time in two months. It only took about 10 seconds to feel comfortable on the rollers again. I was worried about feeling comfortable, but there was no reason.

It was tough going though. In the past I would ride for 45 minutes, but last night I last for 30. I'm sure I could have ridden a little longer, but I didn't want to push it too much.

The whole purpose, or I should say my primary purpose behind riding rollers is to get my leg speed up for riding on the track. I do a 10 minute warm-up and then do a sprint followed by nearly 4 minutes of spinning at a high cadence, and then a 1 minute slower cadence; for 5 minute intervals in total. Repeat until the time has run out and with each repeat try to increase the cadence by 5.

Last night I was doing good to maintain 105 rpm. A few months ago I was maintaining 110 rpm and at times could maintain 115 rpm for a few minutes.

All this got me to thinking if it is too early to start this kind of workout. I still think it is important for me to ride the rollers and I think it is important to keep the leg speed up, but what exactly should I be concentrating on this time of year. Since I've not been able to ride much the last couple of months I figure I've had my break, so time to start training for next year.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Map My Ride

I've created some more routes on Map My Ride. I have posted about this before, maybe a year or so ago. The mapping tools are much easier to use now. It is truly easy to map a route now.

I mapped the Firestone & Summit Hurst Hammick route that we rode last Saturday. What I haven't been able to figure out is how to mark the route as a "Must Do".

I also mapped out some of the routes that I either ride or would like to ride. The route that I ride most often these days is what I call the Hour Loop which incorporates most of the Airport Loop. The other routes also include the Hour Loop but add more distance. You can see all the routes that I've made public on the right side of this blog.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hurst Hammick

This past Saturday saw the Firestone & Summit Group ride the Hurst Hammick Route, one of my favorite routes. Thirteen riders, including one Hand Cyclist, started the ride. We had David Mayo, Dana, Happy, Nester, Left Lane, Bugno, the Count, Retro Dave, and others who I don't remember their names. Several of us had been at the Wheelmen party the night before and might have stayed up a bit too late and/or enjoyed ourselves a little more than we should have. We lost one rider heading out to the Hammick; I think it was voluntary.

The ride out to the Hammick was fairly calm with a tailwind. The group would split and then regroup quite a bit. It seems we lost another rider coming out of the Hammick; for some reason he never showed up at the first rest stop; we did wait quite a while. We all hoped he didn't take a left on Hwy 90 and head to Alabama.

For some reason I was the last to leave the first rest stop and got delayed at the light on 9 Mile and Beulah Road, so I ended up chasing the lead group. I finally caught up with them about 500 yards onto Muscogee Road. I then was dropped again after the Happy RR Crossing when the road went up. Happy decided he wanted to attack after the tracks; I was maxed out after all the chasing and couldn't hold on. I briefly caught back up after making the right onto 97 at the bottom of the hill and crossing RR tracks again. But, that was short lived as the road went up again. Even after the road leveled out there was no catching the group with the head wind. I ended up riding solo until the second rest stop where every one was waiting for me. Thanks guys for waiting. That head wind was brutal and I sure didn't want to ride the rest of the ride without some protection.

The third segment saw the group splitting a bit. We did regroup briefly at Palafox before heading down Johnson where we split again. I ended up in a four man group that had a fairly relaxing ride down Johnson and back to Maygarden. Nester jumped with about 500 meters to go and I think took the line followed by Bugno. I say I think because when Nester jumped I didn't even react; so I wasn't there.

It was a nice ride, but really wore this rider out. I haven't ridden much lately and it showed. Several of the other riders seem to be in good shape and raring to push the pace on the front. After the ride I went home, ate lunch, and then took a nap. Later in the evening I was hurting. That ride had taken a lot out of me. On the plus side I feel that I was about in the middle of the group which isn't too bad considering how little I've been able to ride the last several months. I hope after the first of the year that I can start riding more and get back into shape.

My training partner will be returning home next week from college. That should help with the motivation and hopefully the two of us will be able to ride with the group over the Christmas holidays. I have added the route to MapMyRide.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

No Motivation

I rode yesterday for the first time in two weeks.  On the ride two weeks ago my son was in town and we went for a 40 mile ride.  It was a great ride and I was feeling strong.  Then I went to Arizona for a week to a software conference.  Since returning home I've been very busy working.  I've been so caught up in my work that I haven't made time to ride.  In fact, I am so focused on work that I'm not even motivated to ride.  For the month of October I only logged  177 miles, not good.

Yesterday I made myself go for a ride.  I knew I needed the exercise.  In fact, my wife was telling me I needed to ride.  So late afternoon I went for a ride on my hour loop.  The bike felt strange.  I just wanted to take it easy and resisted the urge to push.  After about 10 minutes the bike felt natural again, but I sure could feel it in my legs and my butt.  It didn't take long before I knew I was sitting on a bicycle saddle.

The ride itself was nice.  The temperature was almost 70 degrees and not much wind, and the traffic was lite; in other words.. nearly perfect conditions to be on a bike ride.  It felt good to be on the bike again even though I sure could feel it.  This morning my body is a bit sore and stiff.  I believe I turned in the slowest time for this route, but then I was not trying to push, just enjoy the ride.

I still got a lot of work to do, but I've got to take time out to ride  I have a feeling it's going to be a long winter and it's going to be difficult to keep my motivation up.  I'm hoping that by the end of the year I'll have my work caught up and I can focus more on cycling, but in the mean time I must take the time to do a little riding or it's going to be a very ugly spring..  Just a few weeks ago I had all these high hopes of 2012 being a great year on the bike.  If I don't do the training 2012 won't be any better than the past two years.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bauer Loop

Yesterday I rode with the Firestone & Summit group starting at the trestle. We did what was called the Bauer Loop. We road out towards Lillian via Jackson and Lillian Hwy then west on 98 to Bauer stopping at the Tom Thumb for a brief break and regrouping. Then on to Old Gulf Beach Hwy to Blue Angel, through the back gate to NAS and then back to town. It was a very nice ride and I made it home by 10am in time for birthday cake. Yep, that was my birthday ride. I felt strong, took several pulls and was almost always near the front. I really enjoyed myself. I was glad that I didn't cramp again, but the calves are still pretty tight.

Wednesday night was the last full moon ride. I missed it do to several reasons. As it turns out there was a crash during the ride which took out two riders who are now recuperating. It's a sad thing and I have many mixed feelings about it.

I didn't ride today, but instead played tennis with my loving wife. It's the first time in a long time that we have played tennis and tonight we are definitely feeling it. I would say it is probably pretty good cross training. Hopefully we will play again soon.

Tomorrow night I hope to ride the rollers doing the spin workout.  I really want to work on my spin in hopes of doing good next year on the track.  Speaking of track, I still need to edit and post some pictures I took at the track and make a post on the track which I had promised some time ago.  Sorry... been really busy working and getting a ride in when I can.

Oh, and before I forget to mention it, on Saturday's ride I took some homemade Ride Bars with me that my wife had made for me.  I had gotten the recipe from the USA Cycling website and given it to her.  The recipe was part of an article that talked about eating more solid food on rides and this was an alternative to using gels.  The Ride Bars were really good and I should have taken more with me.  I definitely will next time.  I shared some with a few of the guys and they liked them too.  They seemed to be amazed that my wife would do such a thing for me in support of my cycling.  I guess I am really blessed.  My wife has put up with my cycling for over 25 years now and she seems to truly understand.  I am thankful...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cramping Calves

Today was the Lillian loop with the Firestone & Summit group. We had around 20 riders, cooler temps, and windy. We had a pretty nice pace going to Lillian. Not too long after reaching Lillian, when the group started heading south, my calves decided to start cramping. I got dropped. I ended up riding with Nate to the 2nd stop on 98 and Bauer Rd. Later I got dropped again on Old Gulf Beach Hwy. This time it took me a long time to a catch a rider I saw in the distance. I finally caught Left Lane about 3/4 mile from Navy Blvd. We rode into town together. Going up the Barrancus bridge was quite painful. Left Lane and I parted ways after reaching downtown. I ended up limping home at 13 mph. A little over 3 hrs riding time. Except for my calves cramping, I would say it was a great ride.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Finally Took The Sprint

Yesterday I rode with the Firstone & Summit group. We did a modified version of the Super 8 since the days are getting shorter. I rode 2nd wheel for much of the ride doing a few pulls along the way. Coming down Spanish on the approach to Maygarden I was 2nd wheel. Bob Graves pulled off after turning on to Maygarden. I pulled for about 500-600 meters then pulled off. The pace increased. Doesn't it always after I take a pull? Several people took pulls and I hung on to the back. With about 300 meters to go riders were speeding up and positioning. With about 150 meters to go I saw an opening on the inside, so I took it. With around 100 meters to go I went by the other riders and then poured on the sprint. I couldn't believe it; everyone just seemed to stand still and let me go. It is almost as if I took them by surprise and then once they saw me it was took late.

Yea, I'm pretty stocked about it. My first sprint win. I almost thought I had it if I could only be present for the sprint. I usually get dropped way before the sprint; so I've never really been there. I got to enjoy the win while I can. There is no telling how long it will be before I get that opportunity again.

Tomorrow is the Lillian loop which is one of my favorite rides. It is going to be chilly in the morning and a lot of wind. No doubt there is going to be some suffering.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nice Ride to Hurst Hammick

This week end the Firestone & Summit group did the Hurst Hammick ride. It was a very nice ride with lots of tempo.

My son had come home for a wedding. We were able to get two rides in together including this one. I enjoy riding with my son very much; in fact he is my favorite person to ride with. He tried to take a 5k flyer off the front at the end. He almost made it; he was caught 25 meters from the finish. As Bob Graves put it; "there was just too much horse power in the peloton". When my son and I rode home from the finish I decided to make a jump on Scenic Highway. To my surprise, my son didn't catch me. Sometimes all you have to do is put a little distance between yourself and those behind you. I bet he won't let me do that again.

The Pensacola Classic was weekend before last. There were lots of racers and competition. I heard there were almost twice as many racers as the year before. I had really wanted to do the race. I had been planning on it for almost a year. But, I didn't do it. I've been out of town a lot; therefor I haven't been riding as much as I would like. Plus I've been having lots of skin cancer cut off lately. I just wasn't feeling it and decided I would let some one else have the privilege of paying to come in last. That being said, I'm already looking forward to next year.

Speaking of next year, it seems strange to me that here it is the end of September and for many of us the racing season has come to an end. It seems to early to me to be thinking that way. But, the track racing is now over. I enjoyed the track a lot and I do plan to do it again next year. I just got to figure out how to train for that over the winter. We do have some more cycling events coming up, but those are just rides, not races.

There is still lots of good weather ahead for some awesome riding. Fall is actually my favorite time of year. If I can just get work figured out, then I can get in some more really great rides this year.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Got to Ride When You Can

This morning the Firestone Group ride was scheduled to leave Fish and Wildlife at 7am. At 6:20 I get an email saying the ride was pushed back to start at 8am with a shorter course yet to be determined. You see, we have a tropical storm going on and it's been raining. There was to be a lull in the storm between 8 and 12; then stormy weather for several days to come.

I really wasn't feeling it. The streets were wet and the trees were dancing in the wind. None the less, after another email I was encouraged to suit up and meet other brave souls.

I had woken up with a song in my head, Girl From Ipanema that stayed in my head for the first hour of the ride much of which was with a tailwind. At the break it started to rain. So we got to practice riding in the rain. On one corner turning off of 10 Mile Rd onto Foxrun my rear wheel slipped a little, but no spill. I felt like I was suffering the whole ride and was relieved to finish with the group; they did wait up for me a couple of times; thanks guys.

The point is that we had to take advantage of the lull to get a ride in. It might be days before the group gets to ride again. It will be a week for me because I have some responsibilities to take care of that are going to keep me off the bike for a week. No, the weather was not perfect and we still got rained on, but the rain wasn't a hard rain. This afternoon it has really been raining and blowing hard. So I'm thankful I got a bike ride in today even if I did suffer a little. Lord knows I needed it.

I had something similar happen to me this past Wednesday evening. The group ride started at 5:30pm. I usually try to ride about 10 miles before the group ride to warm up. Well, I was busy working. I didn't get up from my desk until 6pm. I almost talked myself out of riding. It was a bit windy; I was tired; I wasn't feeling it. Well, I went for a solo ride anyway and I'm glad that I did. Riding helps settle my mind and it is the only form of exercise that I get. Again, I rode when I could. It wasn't the work out I had planned on, but it was nice to be on the bike.

With the Pensacola Classic coming up I'm still on the fence as to whether to race or not. I know that I should, but I'm not in the form I had hoped to be in. The last few rides have been hard for me. I have my doubts that I can be anywhere close to being competitive in the races. It's just not where I saw myself, but that is where I find myself; life ... well you know, it doesn't always cooperate the way we wish it would. More than likely I will race. Maybe I should say I will ride. To race one should be competitive.

It's kind of sad in a way. I'm already thinking about the end of the 2011 season and thinking about 2012. I'm hoping next year will be my breakout year. I'm feeling strong and confident. I just don't have the fitness right now. Sadness and disappointment aside, it has been a great year of bicycle riding for me this year and I have really enjoyed all the group rides, solo rides, riding with my son, riding on the track, and riding with my wife.

So fellow cyclist, enjoy that bike ride when you get the chance. You will most certainly be glad that you did.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

All Roads Lead Up

Almost 2 weeks ago I moved my son to Banner Elk, NC to attend Lees McRae College where he will be riding for the cycling team. While there we got to ride 3 days together. The riding was awesome. The temps were great, but one day we actually wore long sleeves and still got cold at the tops of the climbs. There was very little car traffic. The dogs were friendly. The scenery was wonderful.

The problem is that all roads lead up; well not exactly. There was one road then went down, but of course you had to ride back up. We spent at least 75% of our time climbing. For this Florida boy that is a lot of climbing. I had a 39x27 for a low gear. At times this was not enough. For example, in the steeper sections I was out of the saddle doing 4 mph with a cadence of 30 and breathing very heavy. Our climbs ranged between 20 and 30 minutes. It was rough and tough. On the flip side the descents were incredible. I've never experienced descents like this before.

On our first day of riding we rode the popular Hickory Nut Gap rode that goes from Banner Elk to Newland. It starts up immediately after getting out of the town proper. After the climb the road descends to Newland. We went to Newland then turned around to go back up. Our distance for the day was around 18 miles with 1 1/4 hours on the bike. This was my first eye opener.

The 2nd day my son took me on what is a road race circuit. It started out ok heading out of Banner Elk on 184 and turning onto Dobbins Rd., but then up and steep on Horse Bottom Rd. then descending to Pdgeon Roost Rd. and then back to 194 returning to Banner Elk. I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest. I was glad when that climbing was over; there were 3 very steep sections. After climbing we descended back into town. That was a short 7 miles. We then road 194 out of Banner Elk to descend into Newland. Guess what? It was a wonderful descent but then we had to climb back up into Newland. Then we road Hickory Nut Gap back to Banner Elk. Yes that's right; first we had to climb then descend again. On this last descent we got behind a car which slowed down. Total riding time was just over 2 hours.

On the 3rd day we road for a little over an hour. We were both a bit sore and tired from the previous 2 days. We road out of Banner Elk towards the Banner Elk Winery first going up 194 and then up Gualtney Road. There were 3 places where I had to get out of the saddle on this climb. The pavement ends turning to gravel a short distance after reaching the top; so we turned around. After returning to 194 we did the road race course in reverse and headed back to Banner Elk.

This is an amazing place to ride, but takes some getting use to. I'm really looking forward to returning and exploring more. While I was there they were resurfacing many of the roads; so the roads should be even better when I return. I can only imagine how strong my son is going to get while there. But it is his dream and I really hope he gets very good on the bike, even if it means he will drop me even faster than he does now.

From what I've experienced so far riding around Banner Elk there is no such thing as an easy ride. I'm sure there have got to be some easier routes, but then that is quite relative to Banner Elk. There just is no way out of doing some climbing.

Next time I go up I hope to take some pictures. Sorry, I didn't get any pictures this trip.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Three Days of Suffering

Not exactly three days. I rode last Friday with a few riders from the Firestone group. It was an easy 20. I hadn't been on the bike for almost two weeks and one of those weeks was spent in WA state where one day the high reached 78 degrees. My rides on Saturday and Sunday were not so good. I'm afraid my body had gotten use to the WA weather and now I was back in 95 degree FL weather. It was a sufferfest for me.

Saturday I rode with the Firestone group doing a new route called the Northwest Passage Loop. I would say there were close to 20 riders. The group stuck together pretty good, but I kept getting dropped on every incline. For some reason I just didn't have much energy and felt tired. The route was suppose to be 45 miles, but I got 35 with and average speed of 17.6 mph. I hadn't slept much the night before either; so I think that was also a factor.

On Sunday I rode the Scenic 25 with my son in the afternoon. It was still pretty hot out. Again I had very little energy. Once we turned onto Scenic Highway I dropped bad, but I warned my son that I would probably go pretty slow on Scenic. Before we turned onto Scenic I had an average of 17.5, but once I got home my average had dropped to 15.8. The good news is that I found $12.86 on the side of the road on Scenic just south of Creighton Road. I was riding along and I saw this change on the shoulder which looked to be about $5 to me. I wasn't going anywhere fast so I decided to stop and pick up the change. My son got a good laugh out of it once I got home and emptied my pockets. He had seen the change too but he didn't stop.

Yesterday I rode the rollers for 45 minutes. Lately (when I'm in town) that is what I do on Mondays.

All this going out of town has really hurt my riding time. For the month of July I only got in 263 miles. My fitness is not where I had hoped it would be. I was really hoping to be in top shape for the Pensacola Cycling Classic, but at this rate that is not really going to happen. I don't even know if I will be in town then. If I am in town I will do the race, but not at the level I had hoped.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Two Book Reviews

For Father's Day my son gave me two cycling books: Bike Snob by Bike Snob and Come & Gone by Joe Parkin.

In my opinion Bike Snob is for neo-cyclists. It was a bit interesting here and there, but if the reader has any cycling experience there isn't much to be learned here. The one thing I found interesting is that Bike Snob doesn't mind if drivers honk their horns at him; it lets him know that the driver sees him. A honking horn can mean a few things. Most of the time it's just annoying, but it could actually mean something for the safety of all.

On the other hand, Come & Gone was a much better read. That being said, I was a bit disappointed in a few places and this book was not as good as Parkin's first book, Dog In A Hat which was actually very interesting; so much so I think I will read it again.

Come & Gone covers Parkin's professional career after returning to the U.S. having spent the previous six years in Europe racing. He really has a tough time of it only experiencing success in mountain bike racing. I would have liked to have seen more about his time with the Coor's Light Team.

There were two things I was able to take away from the the book. First, rider support makes all the difference between a podium and simply finishing a race. Second, the support people rarely lie to the racer. When the rider is having a bad day, the support people feel his pain and it shows on their faces too.

My heart really went out to Joe as he struggles to make a living in the U.S. bicycle racing. He seems to have more than his share of bad luck. But then again, Joe seems to be the type of rider that is either "on" or "off"; there is very little middle ground. It's like the stars have to line up just so in order for him to give a good performance. His bad days outnumber his days.

While I don't think this book is as good as Dog In A Hat it is still worth the time to read.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Sun Has Not Been Good To Me

A week ago from today I had surgery on my lip to remove skin cancer. I have spots all over my body that is some form of skin cancer. I regularly have to get some of these spots tended to by a doctor. Well, what started off as chapped lips turned out to be more serious and actually required surgery which also meant general anaesthesia. I was being told that this was pretty serious and needed attention right away. A week later the swelling has gone down, but my lip still hurts and it is a chore to eat. I've lost almost 5 lbs. which I'm sure I will gain back once I can get my body back on a routine. Right now my body is out of sync.

Having surgery also meant time off the bike. It was recommended I stay off the bike 2-3 weeks. I asked why and the reason is to avoid a crash and avoid breaking my lip open; otherwise I could ride my bike.

On weekend rides I try to be home by 11am to get out of the sun. Now that summer is here I try to get home even earlier. I have to avoid the sun. Sure, I put on sun screen, but I quickly sweat that off. I'm afraid that at some point I will have to wear long sleeves even during the summer to minimize the damage to my skin.

I rode this past Wednesday with the Firestone group. I got dropped. I couldn't keep up. I was very tired and I should have warmed up first. I was hoping for an easy ride, but it was not to be with the 22mph pace. I couldn't believe how much I was suffering.

I tried riding again last night with better results. I rode for an hour with two friends and my son. The pace was more relaxed and I felt good. I still suffered a bit towards the end of the ride going up Scenic Hwy. but I felt good. Thanks for a nice ride guys.

Today my son and I head to the Dick Lane Velodrome in Atlanta for a weekend of racing. I hope to get some good pictures this time and write about it next week some time with pictures.

To my cycling friends, I hope you have good rides this weekend and keep safe.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Midyear Review of 2011 Goals

Wow, it's been a long time since my last post. I figure it might be a good time to review the 2011 goals since it is almost the end of June. Let's see... not so good.
  • Join RUSA - didn't happen.
  • Get a route registered with RUSA - didn't happen.
  • Ride Yellow - didn't make it. My son felt sick so we didn't go. I wish I had gone because other people I know who did ride had a great ride.
  • Pensacola Classic - still a possibility if they put the race on.
  • Racing license - I did get a racing license but I've only ridden 3 events. I had other events on the calender but due to finances and work I have only made 3 events this year. The only other event I might be able to do is Pensacola Classic.
  • 5k miles - doesn't look to likely at this point. I currently have 1,699. At this time last year I had 1,507. I guess I could say I'm doing better but I need to be at 2,500 if I were to make the 5,000 for the year.

So what's been going on, why am I so behind?
  1. I've been out of town a lot and haven't been able to ride.
  2. A change in interest. I was very interested in RUSA; in fact, I still am. But now I'm also interested in the track. My son and I have been going to the Dick Lane Velodrome (DLV) in Atlanta. More on this later in the post.

Yes, you will find me riding the group rides on Wednesdays and Saturdays when I can. Other days I'm pretty much doing my own thing. To be honest, I'm just not putting in the miles I thought I would.

Now for the track. It all started when we got a good deal on a Dean track frame. My son really wanted it, so we bought it. It didn't get very much use there for a while. This is a true track bike and isn't been to be riden around town as a fixie. Later my son bought a set of track tubulars from a friend.

Fast forward about a year. Turns out that Lees McRae College (LMC) in Banner Elk, NC wants my son to be a part of their cycling team. LMC has a great cycling team with many national titles in several disciplines. One of the disciplines LMC pursues is the track and the coach is an experienced track rider. So, we have been encouraged to ride on the track at DLV. The team makes a couple of trips a year to DLV for training. BTW, my son is due to attend LMC in the fall. It is a small school in a small town; the cycling team currently has over 50 riders.

We have made several trips to DLV. We both participated in a weekend beginner's class which they offer on occasion. You have to take a class before you are allowed to ride on the track. After completing the class we both went up to Atlanta for the beginner's races which are held on Tuesday nights twice a month. It didn't take long and my son was invited to ride in the categorized races on Wednesday nights. My son also participated in the first of the Pro Race series which was in May; the next Pro Race will be in July and another in September.

Currently my son is a 'C' rider but hopes to move up to a 'B' by the end of the summer. It will take a lot of work. In an effort to reach that goal my son has a personalized training program which he has been following quite well. Part of this program is the Saturday group rides which are suppose to be 3 hours and then an easy 2 hours on Sundays.

A couple of his workouts each week are on the rollers all done in an easy gear. The workout consist of a warmup for about 5 minutes then spinning at 100 for 5 minutes, followed by a sprint. After the sprint he is to spin at 110 for 4 minutes, then 1 minute easy, then sprint again; it is a 5 minute cycle. After each sprint the cadence is suppose to go up another 5 or 10 rpm depending. The total workout is 35 minutes. The purpose is to develop the spin.

I also have been doing the rollers and spinning. It is really the first time I have ever ridden rollers for any length of time. After the first workout I felt fairly comfortable on the rollers. I'm actually enjoying the workout and I've made my workout to be 40 minutes instead of my son's 35. I like it whole lot more than riding the turbo trainer. Now you might notice on the group rides we are spinning quite fast. In fact, I rarely get out of the small chain ring anymore.

So, the track has been taking a lot of our time. DLV has an excellent program in my opinion with a lot of great riders that are also friendly. It is definitely a community that gets to know each other.

At first I was skeptical about the track. I had never ridden a fixed gear before. After my first day on the track I didn't like it. I went back for the 2nd day of the beginners class and we had races. I started to enjoy it then. I've heard some people say that track racing is little races. Yes, they are short, but they are very hard. It is amazing how much tactics come into play. There are several types of races and each type race has it's own set of tactics.

I can't say I'm very good at the track. I am still considered a beginner or a 'D' rider. I do not do very good with the short races, but I do better at the longer races. The race I've done best at is the unknown distance which is a race where the racers have no idea how many laps it is. I like this race because it starts off slower and builds up so by the time the bell rings I'm warmed up. BTW, my son hates the unknown distance.

One of the things about the track is it requires another bike. All of my track riding so far has been on 'school' bikes. DLV rents bikes for $5 per night/day if a rider doesn't have one. The problem is I have had a hard time getting fitted properly so I believe my performance suffered. Sounds like a good excuse to me. I just finished building up a track bike for myself so now I won't be able to use that excuse much longer. Here is a photo of my track bike; it is a Bianchi Super Pista.

Speaking of posting pictures I hope to post pictures of the velodrome soon with a little bit of information about the track.

Track riding is very different from road racing and, just like road racing, isn't for everyone. It's another discipline of cycling and I believe participating in track will make my son and I both better cyclist. It is a long haul to drive to Atlanta twice a month, but I really want to help my son reach his goals. After he goes away to school I can't say how often I will continue to go. I do enjoy it; I just wish it were closer. I know, instead of a ball park downtown let's build a velodrome instead.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Goals

I've been sick the last week so I haven't been on the bike. I did manage to get 3,280 miles in for 2010. It's time to look back and look forward.

Looking back on 2010, it has been a good year for me on the bike. I had put 1,672 miles on the bike for 2009. I had set a goal of 2,400 miles for the year 2010, so I exceeded the goal. Once I saw I was going to exceed the goal I reset it to 3,000, so I exceeded that one too. My first event of the year was Ride Yellow. I had cut 30 minutes off my time from 2009. I felt good about that. My only other goal was to ride the Pensacola Classic which I did. I would have liked to have placed better, but it had been a long time since I raced, so I'm not going to beat myself up too bad about my performance. I did ride a sanctioned race in Dothan.

Towards the end of the year I've been feeling pretty good on the bike. I actually feel like I'm about where I should be, feeling strong and able to hang in there most of the time. I've had several rides this year over a 100k, but my longest has been 68 miles. So, I'll say 2010 has been a good year for the bike.

Now for 2011: I'm having a hard time setting goals. Maybe it's because I've been sick or maybe it is the uncertainty of the economy. Probably it's all that plus I hate making commitments.

  • I had wanted to pursue a R-12 with RUSA, but I don't see that happening. I will join RUSA and lets see where it goes from there.

  • I will try to get one of my 200k rides to become a RUSA ride. Also, will see about getting more RUSA riders here locally.

  • I will ride Ride Yellow again. I hope to do even better this year.

  • I will ride the Pensacola Classic again. I hope to put in a better performance this year.

  • I will get a racing license and do at least 6 sanctioned races.

  • I will set my total mileage goal to 5k miles for the year. I really want to do that, but it all depends. It might be pushing it.

That's it. Let's see how it goes. Happy New Year everyone!