The end of an era

7,437 miles and counting…

In the past 2 calendar years, the longest I’ve been off the bike was 9 days: November 30 to December 8, 2010.  Before that, I wasn’t keeping track.

I’ve enjoyed every mile – every adventure, every race, every crash, every one of the 316 rides so far.  But it’s time for a little time off the bike.  I’ll run, lift, do something else.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be riding on a regular basis, just much less… for now.

Ah, who am I kidding?  I’m riding tomorrow.

“Festive 500” – final day

Nowhere near the 500km goal of the Festive 500, but I didn’t plan on it.  For me, this was a reminder to get out and ride every day (that I could).  A little sloppy this morning, but 40+ degrees was a lot nicer than the 4 degree wind-chill on Tuesday.  Had a great time, put some miles on the single speeds, and still made it to work on time each day.

Looking forward to many more miles in 2011 and beyond.

How To: de-funk-ify old kits and shoes…

Just sent this out to some friends, but I figured it was worth a post.

My old kits are getting funkier every time I wear them, even though I only use sports-specific detergent and air dry them.  So I asked a friend at LG for some advice on getting the funk out:

It’s not an issue with you or with the fabric.  Essentially, the synthetic fibers trap bacteria.  Bacteria creates funk.  This is the reason that you are seeing carbon material, Coolmax silver, and bamboo becoming so popular since they have antibacterial properties.

There is something that you can do that may or may not help.  It is a bit different.  I haven’t used it yet, but it couldn’t really hurt anything.

I have a friend/ fellow rider that used to run cross-country.  When his running shoes would get funky, he would put them in a shopping bag, tie it up, and toss them into his freezer overnight.

In a nutshell, bacteria thrives on heat and moisture.  Putting the jersey in the freezer may kill the bacteria off enough to stop the funk.

“Ow, we want the funk
Give up the funk
Ow, we need the funk
We gotta have that funk”

Friends… with benefits

Not THAT kind of benefits, I’m happily married.  The kind of benefits you get from jumping on a bike with a group of people you don’t (or hardly) know and making instant friends.

This week I had the pleasure of doing a recovery ride with a few “recreational” riders.  Recovery rides always seem like a great idea, but never really seem to happen.  They always start slow and either take off, or go much farther than anticipated.  Let’s face it, it’s fun to go fast.  But this week, I brought the 69er to an organized ride that I normally would never do.  2 guys on mountain bikes (one was a Diamond Back from Target that was too small) and 1 woman on a woman’s Trek commuter that had to be one of the first one’s off the assembly line in 1976.

This ride was not about skill or ability, it was about the ride – and man did I have a good time.  Turns out the woman on the commuter is a grandma, but also a college professor with a love for World music.  We talked for half the ride about bands, musicians and music that no one else would even care about (3/3 time Japanese music…).

One of the mountain bike guys, the one on the “too-small” was proud to show off his war wound from his latest trail ride.  He was also pretty jacked to be doing his first WORS race (Alterra) in 2 weeks.  I would have never guessed that – I thought he was kidding at first.

Point being, I did not think of these riders as “cyclists”, at least not the cyclists I stereotypically think of.  But the truth was, they were cyclists in the truest sense of the term.  They weren’t riding to train for something, or to commute, or lose weight or for any other reason than they just love to ride.  They may not do it very often, or have nice bikes, or compete or any of that crap, but it didn’t matter.  That day we were all the same.

SPINNING Eye for the Straight Guy

“Always do everything you ask of those you command.”

General George S. Patton

Taught my Wednesday 6am SPIN class today.  I’ll admit, Patton probably never took a SPIN class.  You don’t exactly think of MMA and cigars and Monster Trucks when you think about SPIN classes, but they do have some value for “real” cyclists.

I started teaching SPIN for the Wisconsin Athletic Club about 3 or 4 years ago.  I did it for 2 reasons: 1) It would force me to get up each week at least once, even if it was -35° and snowing like crazy, and “ride”.  2) I would get a free membership to a gym by being an employee.

What I found was that most people who take SPIN classes are there for a workout – they are not cyclists.  There are some recreational riders in the classes, and the occasional “enthusiast”, but for the most part, it’s just people looking for a way to burn off some french fries and maintain some level of fitness.  Classes are pretty fun, and I am able to play whatever music I want – which is probably not what you’d hear in a “normal” SPIN class.  Sometimes I wish I was outside riding, but I do that on plenty of other days.  This is a quick way to get a good sweat on and the bottom line is that it’s often an hour in saddle (essentially on a trainer) that I wouldn’t otherwise have.

The goal of my class is different from other classes too, in that the goal of my class is for ME to get a good workout in.  When I became “Certified” it was made clear that the goal should be to use a “do as I say, not as I do” method.  This was explained to me by the SPINNING “Master Instructor”, who was about 30 pounds overweight.  She advocated getting off the bike and walking around the room during the class.  Uh… no.

In my world, there are talkers and there are doers.  Talkers add no value to anything.  I get in a half hour before the class starts, get everything set up, warm up for a while and then deliver a 45 minute beat down.  I would argue that I am working harder than anyone else in that room.  One time there was blizzard, and no one showed up.  So I blasted Metallica and did the whole class by myself out of the saddle.  To this day, that was one of  my toughest classes ever.  So, hopefully the people who normally take my class want to see someone lead by example, rather than reading from the manual.

Bottom line, to me any time on any bike (or trainer) has benefits.

“To all my little Hulkamaniacs, say your prayers, take your vitamins and you will never go wrong.”
Hulk Hogan

Ready as I’m gonna be

I haven’t done a WORS race since June 13th, and haven’t even ridden the trails much this summer because of the typhoons.  So most of my miles have been on my road bike this season.  While it’s been a lot of fun, it’s not the same as riding off-road.  Besides the obvious differences (dirt being the first thing that comes to mind), it’s a completely different workout.  If road biking is like watching a movie, mountain biking is like watching TV while someone with ADD holds the remote.  Nothing ever stays the same, you’re constantly changing positions, speed, effort levels, etc.

While this is what the appeal (to me) is all about for riding in the dirt, there’s not much you can do on a road bike to replicate training for a mountain bike race on a road bike.  Or so I figured anyway – that’s where the Spokesmen rides come into play.  The Tosa Spokesmen weekday rides are generally short and very hilly.  Chris Beyer picks some nutty routes through the city, and we blast around them before work.  Anywhere from 10-20 miles, there are very few straight or flat sections that last more than 2 city blocks.  Most of the routes focus on getting to and then climbing various hills around the city.  So, if you happen to show up on a single speed mountain bike and try to keep up with the group on their road bikes, you’re essentially in for a mini-WORS workout.

This morning was a great warm-up for Sunday’s race; average speeds of 16-20 mph, and lots of hills with speeds generally increasing on the climbs.  It took a lot of effort to keep up, sometimes I just ran out of gear, but I feel about as ready as I’m gonna get.  There are 3 races in the next 4 weeks, so this is kind of like the second race season for me this year.  I’m hoping for some more hardware, time will tell.