Saturday, October 29, 2011

Everything Changed

I wake up early on my day off. As usual. Several hours before the morning sun did. Sleeping longer would have been a treat for my body, but somebody needs to tell my mind that, seems that not long after 5 hours of sleep for me and nap time is over. Coffee is always waiting, about the time the sun starts coming up I am on my 3rd cup. Looking out the window I see frost all over. I am hyper by nature, and overdosing on caffeine gets me fidgeting. I am glad that soon I will be working the pedals of the FatBack for a all day ride on gravel roads on a route only to be determined at every fork in the road.
My bike has been parked leaning against the dining room table since last night. I have to take care of the small details the night before, or I too often forget something, like a tire patch kit, anti-bonk snack, and other things like that. I walk my bike out the front door, turn on my heart monitor and am surprised it is only 52 bpm my mind is going much faster.

I am on my bike now, I ride out of town through city streets, knowing the risks I hop on the highway with no shoulder and hug the white fog line like it's my imaginary safety net from 5000 lb bone crushing four wheel killing machines, and onto a county trail at last.

 Everything is now changed. I no longer have a low heart rate, thoughts in my mind have slowed way down, the frost is leaving, and I am feeling very relaxed. Perfect.

 Here's a Iowa road for ya, this will be a mud slide after a rain. This next picture was a standing corn field last week, now it is all picked, the scenery is changing fast at this time of year out in Iowa farm lands. 

Now I know how the Gnomes make it to the top of the trees to their Gnome Tree Top huts, they build tree steps. Who would have known??                                                                                                      
I was becoming satisfied with mediocrity in today's ride effort. I have been pushing the metric centuries and the last couple of weeks to 3 a week. Lately I have had some pleasurable hard rides.  My legs felt heavy but willing to just keep moving so I could get home and get off the bike. Then this happened.

These two road race jockeys, riding a full suspension and a Surly Cross X, pulled up behind me, then along side of me and we chatted a bit, and then they said good bye, and said they needed to get going and passed me. So that means, now I have to hang with their pace. So we three flew away. We were rocking. Before my delusions of grandeur run away with me here, they could have cranked harder but had a zone they were working in, and my goal was to keep up. We rode for 15 miles in a tight group, at a fast pace. At their turn off, they asked me my name, shook my hand and said amazing that FatBike rode along that fast. My head grew and I found it necessary to make adjustments on my helmet fit.

To end the night my son Josh stops over with his Halloween costume. Josh is a free spirit, he  knows how to enjoy today and we work at thinking about tomorrow just a little bit. He was really acting the part. Priceless.
Well seems tomorrow's agenda is the same as today's. Imagine that.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"It's better to burn out then to fade away" Neil Young.

I tell Creepy Baby to hang on, we are going to dance on the dance floors of gravel roads in NE Iowa.

I say to myself, "My hands are freezing" The challenge is long bike rides in Iowa at this time of year is the temperature differences, like today temps start out at 35 degrees, and end up at 65 degrees. If I dress for 35 degrees I have to bunch up too many clothes somewhere on my bike as temps get into the mid to upper 60s. So I compensate and under dress for 35 degrees, and find myself waiting to warm up. If I stay cold for an hour or more, I made an mistake. I then make myself  a mental note, and begin my learning curve  of dressing exactly right for the temperature(s) seems I have to have relearn this every approaching winter.

I ride on, I warm up, I remove clothing.

Mile 25: I was moving at a fair pace, about 16 mph, and get passed before I know anyone was approaching. I am on a dirt trail, the man says good morning and flies by. I pick up my pace as I analyze "Mr Mark Cavenish" He is fit, he is young(er), he is on a much lighter bike, and dressed to ride. I am old(er), and on a much heavier bike. That is my handicap.
My ego, begins to flood my blood stream with adrenalin, in preparation for the 'battle'  We both start riding faster simultaneously. I look for a mirror on his bike or helmet, I don't see one, how does he know I am working on passing him, and he keeps accelerating at my same rate.

We are now flying, my heart rate is actually 4 beats above my maximum and staying there. 23 mph, his bike is sliding all over in the gravel. I am dying this is now going on for several miles, I can't keep up, I am losing him, he is slowly disappearing, he is laughing inside, I know it.
We cross a county highway, and he pulls up to a parked car. The 'race, is over, but I took 2nd.

Mile 40: I am in Dyersville Iowa. I pull into the town park, to fill my water bottles. The bubbler is shut off, another sign, winter is coming. I decide to ride out to the Field of Dreams movie sight. I buy water.

Mile 50: The road is closed, I continue on, and this is the reason why the road is closed. I cross the creek riding the plank.

Mile 60: Headed home, ate my 3rd and last energy bar.
Mile 66: Drank the last of my water.
Mile 68: I run over a snake, and regret it, I don't like to hurt these creatures. I turn around to see the damage, to see if he is wiggling in agony, and maybe have to put him out of his misery. He is slithering into disappearance, probably OK.  I will pay more attention.

Mile 74: I feel a "BONK" I am out of gas. My shoulder is hurting. I try to stretch while I ride. I have a cramp coming on in my right quad, peculiar, never had this before, I stop and stretch it out, and say to my quad, you don't decide when the ride is over, I do. I have a cell phone, I have someone I can call to end this, to pick me up. It's funny how thoughts can fly into your planet brain, like a meteorite crashing into earth. My thought was this. Something I heard a man say after riding in a snow race for 10 hours with hours to go yet to the finish line, alone, frozen, now dark, and exhausted. He said, "I would have quit, but I could not think of good reason to do so" He continued on and  finished the race.

Mile 84: I arrive home. Here is the difference of being single versus being in a relationship. If I was 'single' I would eat something, pack on lights, saddle up and make it 100. Being in relationship, and we both had the day off from work, and I just spent the majority of the day light hours on a bike seat, I say "Hi honey it's nice to be home" Grandson Cole says smart move Grandpa.

I love bicycling.

I hope you can follow your passions too.

Thank you for visiting.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Art of Blogging.....

I need to jump back in here. Blogging that is. I originally started blogging to maintain a diary of sorts, of primarily bicycle travels. Then I was reading other bloggers and other bloggers were reading me. So with no further ado, I shall just jump back in,

Look at these bad boys, meet Big Fat Larry and his little brother Nate. Put 3 dirty M centuries on these two boys in the last 4 days. Nate in back with the big knobs and 4.8" Larry guiding the way in front. My opinion they will make a great pair for snow grinding. I climbed some dirt hills this weekend, that I think a better rider would not have with an Endo, or Larry in the rear.

I have been dealing with my shoulder flaring up again. In April I had shots of cortisone in both shoulders and it was like a miracle cure, until a bike crash a few months ago when my front tire kicked left from a rut, and I stuck out my right arm to break my fall. Ever since then it has been slowly getting worse. Probably some tendonitis with mayhaps some rotator cuff injury. Another shot of cortisone last week, and then I did this, snapped my Crank arm climbing a hill, threw me forward putting a lot of strain on right shoulder, dang that hurt, arm was numb for awhile. I am going to have to think about what level of risk, and icy snow rides. Doc says I should try to avoid surgery, recovery will be longer off the bike then I care to think about.
However my LBS installed free of charge a complete new assembly.  Wonderful. Is why I believe in supporting your LBS instead of some warehouse in Chihuahua, Mexico owned by some royal family in Al-Kharj, Saudi Arabia. Free replacement says it all for my 2007 crank.

I posted this on FaceBook, I re post here, because I find it so true. Oh and it seems I drop in FB more and more lately and less blogging. I would be happy if you read this blog and want to friend me on FB, just type in my Email address and send me friend request. Thanks.

Cycling/running/training : Sometimes it seems more like work then play, your not sure why you are even doing this. You say to yourself, "I'm tired, or I don't feel well" or whatever you use on yourself to take the easy way out. But plans are plans and goals are goals, and a day off work is an opportunity to pursue such. Then later on somewhere out there on a gravel road, pavement, a basement gym, it becomes all very clear to you why you do what you do, and did what you did, and made the only choice you could have made.

OK I shall return, I got a bunch of things to share yet, but gotz to do my 'man chore' and take the garbage out.

Thanks for the visit.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Free from Guilt....

It had to change, me that is. Spending most of my free time riding a bicycle, or working on one, or reading bicycling blogs. Too many home chores not getting done, not doing my duty. I have been on a bike a lot lately, last 5 days three centuries, 2 Metrics and one 100 miler, all on a fat bike, lots of fun riding, but takes lots of time. Pretty much the same schedule the previous weeks, centuries on a fat bike, with road riding in between.
So I made a very big decision, time to put on the manly man home fix it tool pouch and get some of the needed chores done around here. So after work, tonight, I went to work on one of those neglected needed chores. I built me    us   a .................................................scroll down..................please.........................
I built a toob shelf in the basement, so all my bicycling tubes could stay organized. I can share instructions if you want to make one for you and yours. In a month or two, I might even make a handle bar rack, or even a stem hanger.

So the guilt was lifted, and I went out and had a great ride........

These are my 'can you see me now' lights to keep from getting crunched from the big trucks, and small cars, they are all much bigger then me..............................Creepy Baby is trying to fly......

Have fun, ride a bike, thanks for visiting.