Wednesday, March 28, 2007


We had a pretty good turnout for the first Wednesday ride. Bryan, Andrew, Cory, another guy from the ISU Cycling club who's name I can't remember (sorry - no offense intended - I'm old), and me.

We headed south and east into the wind. On the Cambridge road we were able to get organized and were running a pretty good pace line across the wind. I won't kid you. The pace was fast, damn fast. At one point I dropped from second wheel to the back, because I was gassed. Cool, that's just what I wanted. Bryan and Andrew are really strong riders, and I'm lucky to have a chance to train with them.

We turned with the wind at Cambridge, and the pace picked up to about 30 mph. As we turned back north I was feeling pretty toasted, and apparently Cory was feeling the same. We both decided to let the pack (Bryan and Andrew at this point) get away from us. Cory was still feeling the effects of the SOS ride from the past weekend, and I . . . didn't have an excuse.
It was a good ride with good people. I hope we do it again.
On a related note, I stopped by the shop afterwards for some BS, and the guys mentioned the possibility of a Tuesday night fixie/single speed ride. It will be a casual ride, there would probably be a few beverage stops on the ride, and lycra will be discouraged. Details will be forthcoming . . .

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Road Work

Bryan Moritz and I are going to do a couple of hours of tempo-paced road work tomorrow (Wednesday). We'll be leaving from Bike World at 5:00 PM. The plan is to get in 40 miles or so before dark. All are welcome. Cory, Alex, Emily, Paul, Andrew? Let me know so we don't leave without you.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Much Respect

Much respect to Paul, Cory, and Alex for slugging it out on a 100+ mile gravel road sludgefest. I was laying in bed Satuday morning listening to the thunder, and thinking of them. After this ride, I hope they don't all sell their bikes!

I went out for a few hours on the road bike on Sunday. Wind was a factor.

I left early, and headed south hoping to get there before the wind picked up. On the way out I got a glimpse of what those TransIowa guys got yesterday.

OK, that was a "B" road, but I'll bet their roads weren't much better.

I rode into the wind to Polk county. I tried to do some tempo work into the wind, but it sucked. After that I turned around. I had a much better time getting some intensity going with the wind. Go figure.

This was on flat ground without working too hard. I like riding with the wind.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tonight's Ride

Some stats from tonights ride:

2 hours.
24 miles.
No pavement.
2 wheels.
1 gear.
No coasting.
2 cars.
No dogs.
All smiles.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Back on Track

Back on track? Singletrack that is. WooHoo!

On the way home I was checking out the farm fields. Hmmm, they are looking pretty dry. They wind is working it's magic. After turning toward home onto the gravel, yup, it's now a dusty gravel road. That's another good sign. My drive home takes me by a trailhead, so I stopped the truck and walked down the trail a little bit. Hmmm . . . tacky to soft, but mostly tacky. Certainly not sloppy like it was. It's time to get a bike out. Given the forecast, this will be the last chance for a few days.

So I headed for the first dirt ride of the year. At times the trail looked great:

Other places, not so much:

Oh. That's right. We had the ice storm of the century a few weeks ago. I've still got limbs all over my yard. I shouldn't be surprised that there are still a few limbs across the trail. OK, not a few, there are a bunch.

So, go out to your local trail system and help out with the clean-up effort. I'm sure they need the help. That's what I'm going to do.

And avoid the temptation to get out on the trails when they are wet. I saw that a few had already done that. Wet riding (or walking) leads to ruts, ruts lead to water retention, water retention leads to holes, holes lead to hate, and hate leads to the dark side (trail paving). None of us wants that.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Tired . . . Very Tired.

As I said yesterday I’ve been at the Team 14 off-road training camp this weekend. I’m beat! Two days of hard rides have been good training, but have left me drained (as they should).

Here are a couple of funny pictures from the rides.

We got real muddy on Saturday:

My new Lakes are nicely broken in:

This is what happens when you wheel suck on muddy gravel:

Here is some vintage southern Iowa. There is 40 years of vehicular history in this family’s back yard:

Here is another picture from the drive back. I saw this sign a few years ago but didn’t have camera with me. I asked a friend to take a picture of the sign. It still makes me laugh. How much for the babies?

I saw today that they have covered up the babies portion of the picture. They must have gotten tired of people stopping to take pictures.

It’s also Amish country. We saw several teams of horses training for their season. You could tell the Amish houses because they had no cars in the driveway, and had no electrical wires running to the house.

I’ve also put a write-up on the Team 14 Blog.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Team 14 Off-Road Training Camp Day 1

I went on the first day of the Team 14 off-road training camp today. The southern Iowa Hills kicked my ass! Because of the snow in the morning we didn't get to ride off-road, but we did do several hours of mushy gravel and Stephens Forest, which it very cool (and damn hilly). I put a write-up and some pictures here. I'm on a borrowed computer right now, so I'll write more later.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Going to the Dogs

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I've been busy riding, and getting stuff ready for the Team 14 off-road training camp in Corydon this weekend.

I did another 2 hour gravel ride on 170th street on Thursday. I dealt with several dogs along the way. Why is it that if you live in the country, you think that you can let your rabid dogs run free? I've taken on some pretty risky behavior in my life. I raced motocross and I've raced mountain bikes, but I've never been quite as scared with those two activities as I was on my gravel road ride yesterday. Apparently the dog bite has taken something out of me. I need to get past that.

The Team 14 off-road training camp is this weekend. I hope for a hard workout on both days, I hope I live through it, and I hope I can out-sprint the dogs.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Suntan Weather

I started working on my tan today. It was a beautiful 75 degree day, and there was no good reason to stay at work.

I'm used to the conditions changing quickly this time of year, but I was suprised how fast things turned around.

10 days ago we had snow:

Last weekend we had total slop:

Today we had perfect gravel conditions:

I did about 2 hours of easy to moderate riding in shorts and a short sleved jersey.

After a long winter my legs have gotten a little furry. We'll take care of that soon.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Last Base Period

Today starts my last two-week base period. These two weeks will contain the most training hours on my schedule. So to kick of the two-week training block . . .

I took a day off.

I really needed a rest day after two pretty hard days of riding. Today was one of those days where I could feel the burn and fatigue after only two flights of stairs. I've come to use that as a measure of my level of fatigue. If I can feel it going up two flights of stairs, it's time for a day off. Thanks to recover-ease, I don't really have much muscle soreness, just fatigue that sets in really quickly. A day off will cure what ails me.

Even though my planned training hours in the next two weeks are big numbers (for me), I'm not really too worried about getting my hours in because the Team 14 off road training camp is this weekend. There will be plenty of riding done down south. If the weather cooperates, we might even get to do some dirt riding. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Team 14 Road Training Camp

I went on the Team 14 road training camp today. It was a kick in the ass!

I was able to handle the flats OK, but the hills still give me trouble. I’m getting better, but I’m still slower than most when it comes to climbing. I wasn’t the last man up on the hills, and I even passed a few guys while climbing, so I’ll call that an improvement. But I think I will confine my road racing to the flat courses.

It was a great workout for me, and a great end to a rest week. I wrote a piece for the Team 14 blog here. Between this and the fixie ride on Saturday, it was a great weekend.

P.S. Cory ‘fessed up on the gory details of our Saturday fixie ride here. Read all about it. " . . .wielding 4000 pounds of penile inequity". Funny stuff.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Early Morning Fixie Fix

I send out a call late yesterday for a couple of hours of early fixie fun for this morning. Given the late notice I showed up expecting to ride alone. I was pleasantly surprised.

Alex was the first to show on his IRO, and shortly after that Cory appeared on his Le Tour. Both had to navigate the treacherous black ice on the Ada Hayden trail, but both were successful in doing so. Given the conditions, we elected to hit the county roads to Boone, hoping to avoid both ice and traffic.

We were successful in avoiding the ice, but were less than successful in avoiding Bubba in his pickup. I'll let Cory tell the all the gory details. Suffice it to say that I wish I would have had the presence of mind to take pictures. That is what separates goodness from greatness.

After the "incident", we had a great ride. The pace was good, the conditions were good, and the company was great. All rides should be like this. The Iowa legislature should pass a law making all rides like this one. That would be better than some of the laws they have been debating.

It was a good ride. We all lived, and some people got an education. It was a good day.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Ada Hayden 8:30 Tomorrow Morning.

I'm going to be at north parking lot at Ada Hayden at 8:30 am (sorry so early, I've got things to do) tomorrow morning if anyone wants to join me. I'll be riding my fixie and plan on riding a couple of hours of pavement. No gravel for me for a few more days - it's now got the consistency of wet concrete.

All are welcome. It's going to be sunny and above freezing. It'll feel like suntan weather out there!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Iowa Legislative Update

I will apologize in advance for getting political, but there are a couple of bills in the Iowa Legislature that are of concern to cyclists. Two of them need our support, and one doesn't.

SF244 requires the DOT the establish policy guidelines to ensure the safety of all users (including cyclists) when designing roadways. I think this is already being done within the DOT. I suppose this is a good idea, but every time I've been on a group ride and we take the bike lane on old 30 between Ames and Nevada 1) I've been scared to death because the small distance between bikes and many, many speeding cars. 2) Someone has a flat because of all of the debris in the bike lane. The bike lanes seldom (if ever) get swept, and debris (glass, cans, metal, etc) naturally accumulates in the bike lane.

SF101 establishes a ‘Share the Road’ car license plate and allows for proceeds to be used for bicycle education. The money goes toward educating Iowans about sharing the road with cyclists. It’s for a good cause. I would get one of these if it were available. It's kind of like a voluntary tax.

HF584 requires every bicyclist to have an orange flag, carry ID, and wear reflective clothing (even during the day). I'm ok with the ID. I already wear a Road ID. I don't wear it for myself. I wear it for Christy. I'm also OK with the reflective clothing section. Any woman will tell you that shoes are clothing. All of my shoes have reflective stuff on them.

I really have a problem with the orange flag. WTF?

Here is how it reads:

"A person shall not ride a bicycle on a highway unless the bicycle is equipped with a fluorescent orange safety flag at least six by nine inches in size and displayed at least sixty inches above the ground. "

I'll say it again, WTF? Does this include road races? Can't you just see a peleton full of carbon fiber, unobtainim bikes, piloted by big-legged, yet emaciated guys, all with 6x9 inch florescent flags flapping in the breeze. We're going to look really special out there on our ten speeds.

I'll let you form your own opinions, but here is contact information for your legislator. I'll bet they would like to hear from you. Please pass this along to other interested cyclists.

Monday, March 05, 2007

This Guy is Ready

In a previous post I said "I'd rather ride outside, but its just not possible to get a hard, safe workout in the current conditions". Apparently my friend Paul decided to prove me wrong.

He did a metric century this Sunday on roads like this:


and this:

These are roads that I didn't even want to drive on. Forget about riding a bike!

I am so not worthy. I'd rather get bit by a dog that ride 62 miles in ice and deep snow. He is definitely ready for Trans-Iowa III.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Burning Matches

I've heard people take about starting a race with a book of matches. Each effort that goes above your lactate threshold burns a match. The longer you stay there, the more matches you burn. Once your matchbook is empty, your race is done.

I did a little match burning experiment this morning. Because of the blizzard outside this weekend I am resigned to riding in the basement once again. I'd rather ride outside, but it's just not possible to get a hard, safe workout in the current conditions.

So I did my blackout interval workout again. But this time, instead of ramping to zone 5B-5C in the last two minutes of the last cruise interval, I did in first cruise interval. The first one went OK, although I noticed that I'd dug a hole deep enough that the two-minute recovery didn't go very far. The second interval felt OK, but the last two-minute ramp really started to hurt, and the two-minute recovery barely got below zone three. The same happened on the third interval.
Finally on the last interval, I was not even able to pull hard enough to get beyond zone 5A. I was spent. I finished it out, but my matchbook was empty. That is probably as close to race level exertion as I am going to get in the basement.

Tomorrow is the last day of my third base period, so I've got a rest week coming. I figured I could safely blow out some cobwebs, and have plenty of time to get it back next week.

Team 14 is having training camps the next two weekends. The roadie camp is in Des Moines next weekend, and a mountain bike camp is in southern Iowa the following weekend. Both should be great workouts, and lots of fun!

Note to self - it's time dust off the race bikes.