Saturday, January 31, 2009

Trainer ride update

Due to a schedule conflict, the trainer ride is canceled for this morning.

Friday, January 30, 2009

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Remember that line from The Shining?  Stuck in that big, snowed in hotel with not much to do, but go crazy and talk to ghosts.  I'm starting to feel that way myself.  As Homer said in The Shinning, "Don't mind if I do!" 

The cold is getting to me.  The wind isn't helping and skies that seem to not vary much out of the grey color scheme are doing me in.  I feel like the whole world is in a funk.  Sure, the economy is bad and getting worse, but having a dull, leaden sky crushing down on you day after day with temperatures that make it too cold to do anything outside are just exacerbating the situation.

There are some bright spots.  Tomorrow will be another day for a shop trainer ride.  Although riding outside is best, riding indoors with other people is at least better than slogging away in the basement by yourself.  Sunday, the temps are supposed to go up a good bit and some of the Luna crew from Charlotte are going to come up and join us for a base mile ride of the Cycle To Serve loop at 9:30 am.  Remember that base pace means slow and steady, convivial conversation, that sort of thing.  Come discover how smart your riding partners are by engaging in actual conversation!  Past group ride conversation topics have included: "Dogs: a critical analysis of the predatory response with respect to breed" and "The dos and don'ts of on-the-bike action photography".  If 9:30 isn't a workable time for you, there will be another group taking off in the opposite direction to meet up with us at 1pm.  I'll post more details later.

Other good news in our little world this week: although one of his classmates had them, Owen managed to not get lice this week.  All of his stuff was in a bag for us to, I guess disinfect or burn or something and he was pretty surly at me looking through his hair for like the 50th time that day, but he was louse free!  And then, he turned around and got something called Fifth's Disease which resembles the 72 hour Leprosy, but adds a kind of cold/cough action to the mix for added fun.  At least it wasn't Monkey Pox.

If you ever get bored and are looking for something to do on a Friday afternoon, drop by the shop and join in the fun of the Luna Cycles Ninja Challenge World Cup of Upper Body Strength.  There are several categories to choose from, but the competition is stiff!  Only in a bike shop would the winning mark of 7 pullups be an unbroken record for the 4th straight week.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we cyclists are gifted with the upper body strength of a T. Rex, but that doesn't stop us from trying to unleash our inner power lifter!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ciao sole!

With temps forecasted in the mid-50's, tomorrow's ride is NOT going to take place indoors but in the great wide open!  We will be hitting the Cycle To Serve loop at base pace.  Plenty of cutoff points if you aren't up for the whole ride.  10 am start.

Andare in bici!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


It is not the easiest thing in the world to stay excited about riding a bike when the thought of being outside is enough to cause frostbite.  Sadly, we are deep in the throes of the coldest part of winter; the very heart of darkness (and despair).  Temperatures that flick above 40 degrees feel like a veritable heat wave right now and it is that magic range of the upper 40's that inspires us to get out and ride.

Jeff, Golden, Peter and I headed to Warrior Creek on Sunday to do a little mountain biking.  We decided to ride the loop counter-clockwise this time and both Jeff and I thought that it flowed much better in that direction.  Temps were cool but not freezing and once we got moving everything was fine.  This trail is complete and now the work is turning to some reroutes of old trail sections and buffing the trail to perfection.  BMCC will be doing trail work days every Sunday for the next month or so in an effort to get this trail done and ready for the race there in the Spring.  Check out the BMCC website to get further info on volunteering!  I'll see you out there this Sunday if you can make it.

We wrapped up Warrior's Creek, jumped in the car and drove the 10 minutes to the Overmountain Victory Trail.  Jeff and I took off and immediately noticed that it was a good bit colder on the OVT than it had been at Warrior's Creek.  A few other intrepid souls were out riding, but we largely had the trail to ourselves.  Towards the end of the trail, we both started feeling the effects of cold weather mountain biking for 3+ hours and were glad to get back to the car and its promise of warmth.  The only thing lacking was a coffee shop within a short distance, but life can't be too perfect.

Not sure what the weekend is going to bring weather wise, so a mtb ride this weekend is up in the air.  I plan on heading out to do trail work with Owen and Golden on Sunday, so at least I will get out in the woods one way or the other!  Don't forget shop trainer rides will be on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm for the near future.  Bring a trainer and fight the good fight with others!  The Saturday group ride may or may not be indoors this weekend.  Once I have a clear idea of the weather I will post the call.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"I'm going nowhere, baby!"

There is something truly awful about riding the trainer.  I think it is the stationary part, the not going anywhere that heightens the torture of riding indoors.  We started the Saturday morning trainer rides at the shop today due to the fact that it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too cold to even think about riding outside.  Charles the Taller and Peter met me at the shop at 10am and we started setting up.  I brought the trainer and the rollers, just in case somebody showed up without a trainer.   Charles and Peter got started, I turned up the AC/DC and we got underway.
I decided to ride the rollers.  I don't know why, but the rollers seem like the lesser of two evils to me.  I guess it is the constant concentration to avoid the imminent doom that lurks at the edges of the spinning drums that keeps the mind occupied enough to not dwell on the stationary part of the indoor riding session.  The key to riding rollers (I think) is to be in a relaxed state of concentration.  Relax to much and the bike is zigging all over the place.  Tighten up on the bars too much and you are zagging like there is no tomorrow.  Hit things just right and it is almost like being on the road.
You have probably heard the war stories about trainer crashes or been scared witless when you realized how close to the edge your wheel was.  I have honestly never had a bad incident on the rollers, but then again I don't try to ride no hands or fart around like I'm Joe Pro, either.  Rollers are to be viewed as being a quiet kind of cool.  It is cool to ride rollers well, but it is not cool to break them out at your local crit and show off your no hands-back stretching-while riding rollers technique.  However, it is cool to show how good you are on the rollers when warming up at the velodrome, but you better bring your A game to even warrant a glimpse in your direction as there are some serious bike riding skills going on in the fixed gear set.
With all of that out in the open, I managed a 45-50 minute ride on my Roubaix rollers (the drums are really lumpy so it is sort of like riding on a very bumpy road).  Peter kept breaking out the one legged drills on the trainer, swearing up and down that they made time go by faster.  Sure.  Charles sweated along and aptly reminded us that suffering now was the best preparation for the season.  It's funny that we suffer now so that we can suffer more once the weather is warm.  Seems perverse to train by suffering in order to compete at suffering.  Oh well, no one ever promised that life would be logical.

Holy cow!

It is about 8:30 am and it is cold.  Not just a little cold, but a significant, bone-cracking kind of cold.  Don't ride outside!  Come by the shop at 10 am, bring your trainer and we'll do an indoor group ride.  Anytime between 10 and noon will be good.  I'll have tunes and a heater.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

No Risk Investment Opportunity!

What if I were to tell you that I had a fabulous, can't lose investment opportunity and that if you act right now you would be on the ground floor of this exciting investment opportunity? Shades of Bernie Madoff, you say? No, says I! 

Well, friends, I am prepared to let you in on the secret to cycling success!  This has been the closely guarded secret of the pros for decades and now, right now, I will give you this training secret FREE OF CHARGE!  But wait, you are probably asking yourself, "What's the catch?"  Fair enough, I won't lie to you, friends.  This investment is an investment in yourself; an investment in the season that will be; the season that lies before you like a wide open road of possibility.  But this investment will require privation, less than ideal conditions at times and one of the most precious of all commodities: time.

Yes friends, if you want to fly up the hills like an angel, sprint like a cheetah or just try to not be the slowest buffalo in the herd, then you must get out and ride your bike now. Yes, now!  In the winter!  When the chill drives the timid into the house for another round of Wii tennis and hot cocoa, you should be bundling up and coming out for the Saturday group ride!  Come out for some good old-fashioned LSD (long slow distance - NOT the other stuff!).  Be prepared for slow, social miles and GASP! talking with other people while riding. 

So, my friends, if you want to be "Better, Harder, Stronger, Faster" this season, NOW is the time to make the investment in yourself!

*while riding your bike in the winter time is a good idea and does usually result in increased performance and overall improvements in ones athletic ability, your actual results may vary. If, after a reasonable time period, you have not experienced improvements that you may define as "reasonable", you are probably not doing something right and should consult your local bike shop for the requisite scowls of disapproval and taunts of being a "whiner".  This is a limited time offer, Winter doesn't last forever, you know, and before you know it your first (race, cookie ride, long ride, mtn. bike epic, etc...) will be here and you will be lamenting missing out on this sure-thing investment opportunity.

In closing, let me say, "I'm gonna get you Shaw Brown!"

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Pushing through to a chilly weekend

True to form here in the foothills, the weather is taking a nice downturn temperature wise just in time for the weekend.  The timing is uncanny.  Despite the chill, I'm gonna get out on the new mountain bike and do a little Wilson Creek exploration ride.  Jeff and I both want to encourage anyone who wants to come join us for a little fun in the dirt to definitely come ride with us!  I'll let you know when and where to meet up for this Sunday's offroad fun.  Don't worry about your skill level, your ability or your fitness, we just want people to ride with!  Don't have a mtn. bike or wanting to update the one you have?  We have several demo mtn. bikes from Specialized!  For a small fee, you can take out one of our demo bikes and rip around on the trails to get a proper feel for how the bike performs.  And the best part is that if you decide you can't live without a new mtn. bike, you can apply your demo fee to the purchase price!  It's win-win!

As always: I'm gonna get you Shaw Brown.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I'm not a doctor, but I do have a biology degree...

I have this new habit.  Actually, it is more of a procedure... a self-administered procedure.  When I first started cycling, the occassional bike crash was something that didn't really faze me, unless I was significantly injured, i.e. knocked unconscious or severely concussed. When I seperated my shoulder during a mountain bike race, I actually completed the lap and then headed out and completed the next (last) lap.  True, by the end of the race I was unable to move my arm, but I nonetheless thought that I had some minor injury that I would easily recover from.  It seemed that a bike accident had to actually alter my brain waves in order for me to pause and consider what was happening (or in the more significant instances: HAD happened).

Not now, though.  Now, I touch the floor or, lately, the dirt, and I am extremely aware of my physical state.  I still hop back on the bike as quickly as possible (a feat that is taking longer and longer as I get older), but now when I start riding again, I am running self diagnostic checks like some Terminator robot on holiday.  But unlike a real doctor, my internal doctor is not very well trained and seems determined to overlook or blow off symptoms.  So far, my internal doctor is proving to offer no better medical advice than, " Awww, that's nothing.  Just keep riding, the pain will work itself out."  The one benefit is that my internal doctor is free AND he is a great proponent of the healing properties of beer and mexican food.  And chocolate.

My latest gravity encounter saw me get tangled up in my mountain bike on a greasy slick muddy descent.  I ended up trying to see how much lateral movement my knee was capable of withstanding and landed squarely on my IT band.  This sent a shockwave up my quad to my hip, somewhat akin to striking your funny bone, but much, much worse.  After being cleared by the internal doctor, I decided to seek out a second opinion.  Bad move.  Never get a second opinion if you are perfectly happy with the first one.  Shelli, my second consultant, prescribed IT stretches and some sessions with the dreaded foam roller.  Not the prescription I was looking for.  While she is probably on to something, I'm going to see what my dog thinks and go from there...

Don't forget: I'm gonna get you Shaw Brown!

Thursday, January 01, 2009


I don't want to write about the passing of the year or my promises to myself for the next. Instead, I want to share some philosophical insight that may or may not be of interest to you.  Keep in mind two figures: 80% and 1%.  Both of these numbers come from a book that I read a few months ago (well, devoured, actually) called "Let my people go surfing" by Patagonia founder and owner, Yvon Chouinard.

Justify your desire to do multiple things well with the 80% rule.  Work at something, devote time and dedication to its perfection until you are 80% proficient at it.  To be 100% proficient, to be the best in other words, requires a single-minded devotion to the pursuit.  But with 80% proficiency, you have enough skill to be truly good at something, to enjoy it and include it in a quiver of skills and pursuits that you can joyfully participate in without the monk-like asceticism required to reach that 100% point.  I can enjoy cycling, running and other sports and devote time to them as I like and enjoy them at this level.  It's an interesting notion and one worth exploration this year.

This one seems simple, but why does it seem borderline revelatory? This idea stems from the organization called 1% for the planet where businesses set aside 1% of their sales for charitable giving.  Chouinard dubs it a self tax, whereby you can determine how your tax money is spent.  My goal is to take 1% of my pay each month and give it to a different charitable organization.  Whoops, that sounds suspiciously like a resolution.  Oh well.

Here's to continued health and happiness for all in the new year!  Now go ride your bike! 

I'm gonna get you, Shaw Brown!