Did it and then some!!

I started this blog to tell about my journey to ride a century for Alzheimer’s in memory of my mom.  I didn’t do such a good job of posting along the way but I wanted to let whoever is still following that I did it. It was actually back in July and my first full century ride came on day 3 of a 252 mile ride!  I hope to post my thoughts and some pictures soon. It was a great ride and I definitely plan to do it again next year. I learned so much about myself along the way,  made some great friends and had a great feeling of accomplishment. 

I will try to update soon. 

I’m Still Here

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Well I’m still here! I haven’t posted in months. Let’s just say it was a long hard winter. I had my bike on the trainer all winter and I thought that I would ride a lot but you know what they say about good intentions and where they lead…

I do have news to report though. I am back on the roads with a vengeance and most importantly with a new bike!!! It is entry level but I love it. It is a Fuji Sportif 2.3. I looked long and hard both on line and local and in the end I bought from a great local bike shop. It has been an awesome experience so far. I was actually going back and forth between the 2.3 and the 2.1 and the bike shop owner actually talked me down to the 2.3! It was a good decision though. The 2.1 was only a marginal upgrade in components and buying the 2.3 allowed me to splurge on some extras like a Garmin Edge 500 bike computer which I really like. I almost ordered from a discount on line place which if that’s your thing no problem, but for me I felt I needed the advice and support of a local shop. I got a good deal on the bike plus they threw in a 60 dollar pair of shorts, a new helmet, 15% off of everything else I bought with the bike and free adjustments for 1 year. The bike rides like a dream for me and seems to have solved a knee issue I was having, I suspect because of a better fit.

Miles are just beginning to pile up again as I prepare for my big ride this summer. I plan on doing a metric century in May and then a couple months later I am planning to ride a multi-day event that finishes with a 100 miler on the last day. So here’s my question. For a one day 100 mile event I have heard people say to train to about 10-20% below the mileage number. For example for a century train to 80-90 miles. Does the same guideline hold true for a multi-day event? If it is a 3 day event do I do a 3 day training block riding 10-20% less each of the 3 days than I will ride in the actual event? Any input appreciated.

Happy riding!

Day Whatever

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Well I knew that eventually I would stop counting the days so I guess that time is now. I haven’t posted for a while because I have been very busy both working and riding. I did my first 50 mile ride last week! I know its no biggie but I was pretty stoked about it. I was very pleased also that my average mph stayed up as high as on some of my shorter rides. Hey Map My Ride didn’t even go into auto pause on the hill climbs lol!!! I replaced a front tire the other day. I squeezed every mile out of the old one. It blew about 2 miles from my truck so no biggie. I didn’t want to put my spare tube in a tire that had a hole in it so I just walked it back. My old tire was a Serfas Seca 23c. After much thought and internet research I replaced it with a Michelin Lithion.2 25c. From what I could tell that is a decent fitness tire which is what I am mostly interested in seeing as I have neither the genetics nor the wallet to be a serious racer. I still can’t wrap my little brain around the whole wider tire lower rolling resistance engineering but it’s like a lot of things in life I’ll just take their word for it. I already had a Michelin 25c on the rear. I can’t say that I felt any difference in rolling resistance after the change but I certainly felt it in the ride. The old 23c that I had on the front was a 130psi tire whereas the new tire is a 102psi so as you might expect it is a lot softer feel which helps seeing as how I’m riding a bike with aluminum forks.

I am starting to notice a great deal of improvement in my fitness. I feel much stronger on the bike. I am in the last hole in my belt and I’m wearing pants that my wife tried to get me to throw away 3 years ago! I really enjoy my rides more and more especially the early morning ones. I ride in a civil war battlefield and its very peaceful. I don’t listen to music or anything when I ride instead I talk to myself ( becoming a very good conversationalist) pray (mostly that I make it up the next hill), and sometimes I remember things about my mother and I think about how ironic it is that through her death I was inspired to do something that I believe brings me life, riding. Anyway, I still have my eye on the prize of riding a century for Alzheimer’s but it’s become more than that to me. Riding is becoming a part of my life, a part that I am very grateful for. In some ways I think it is saving my life.

Day 49

Yesterday was a very big day. I did my first 40 mile ride. What I was very pleased with was it not only set a new distance for me but my average speed was higher than it has ever been as well. I actually set PR’s on several of the course segments that I rode. Sorry Jim I would tell what my average speed was but Map My Ride kept going in to auto pause going up the hills (lol).
It was really great to get out on the bike. I’ve been traveling a lot and having to use exercise bikes at hotels to ride at all.
On another note it seems I’m starting to gather a small team of middle aged men who have lost a parent with Alzheimer’s and want to join me on a century ride for Alzheimer’s. There are 3 of us now but we haven’t rode together yet. It’s kind of funny because all of us have been given old bikes by other people so we’re thinking about calling our team “Grumpy old men on rickety old bikes” or “Classy guys with classic bikes” I don’t know I guess we’ll think of something.

Day 35 It sucked, but it didn’t!

Been a while since I posted. Last week I was traveling on business and not able to take my bike with me. Bummer. I was forced to use whatever the hotels that I stayed at had in their fitness rooms. I had 3 rides on precore bikes and one treadmill. Fast forward to today. I was away from my home so an out of town ride was in order but I did have my bike. I think I would sum up today’s ride like this “It sucked but it didn’t.”
Ok first of all what didn’t suck about it: It was a ride. Need I say more? It was great to get back on the bike and ride and sweat. I guess in that since no ride could totally suck but here is what did bite about this ride. It was only a 21 mile ride but it was by far the most mentally stressful and exhausting ride that I’ve had. At the end I was much more mentally exhausted than physically, here’s why. I normally ride in a park that is a Civil War battlefield. The roads are very lightly traveled, smooth, and the speed limits are 25-35mph. Today I was in a different location and I researched where to ride on line. What I came up with was a 18 mile bike path that paralleled a highway. It came highly recommended and it started off good enough but soon it turned quite hazardous. It turned bumpy and rather crowded. In low spots of the path there were places that had areas of sand and dirt that, for a road bike, were like those run away truck ramps you see on steep descents on highways. I soon realized that I would rather take my chances with the cars on the highway than to ride on the bike path and that’s just what I did. To top it all off it started to rain and the wind was howling. But the amazing thing is this. Three fourths of the way through the ride something most unexpected happened. After multiple near bone shattering bumps and sand pits on the bike path and near misses on the highway paved with rough tire shredding asphalt, through the sweat and the grit and the wind and the rain I started to grin. I mean a stupid what the heck’s the matter with you kind of grin and that brings me back to what didn’t suck about this ride. It was still a ride and it was still a chance to push myself to improve and to feel alive! So, alas, this ride didn’t suck after all.
And I realized what a gift it really is to be blessed with the ability to hop on a bike and just ride and what a shame it is that it took me so long to discover it and such a tragic loss to motivate me to do it. SO tomorrow I will ride and I will grin. Press on!

Day 26 New Ground

Well new ground was broken yesterday. I did a 30 mile ride. I did learn one thing. Riding that far in 90 degree heat for me requires more than 2 bottles of fluid. My legs felt pretty good although I did have some cramps in my calves off and on the last 7-8 miles. I think maybe due to fluids. It was a good ride though that I felt put me back on track.
I also made a new purchase. I bought a handle bar mounted case for my iPhone which I am using as a cycling computer right now (probably a rookie move). One thing I do know is the battery certainly will not last long enough for me to make a 100 mile ride. It’s a neat case though that is splash proof. Here’s a picture.
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Also going to need new tires soon. Any size recommendations? Right now I think my bike has a 700×23 on the front and a 700×25 on the rear. Any reason to run different widths? It is what was on it when I got it.

Day 23

Had to cut my ride short at 15 miles today because of a breakdown. My headset came lose and when I turned the handlebars nothing happened. I count myself blessed though because if it had happened about a half mile earlier I would have been going down hill at about 40mph!
Full day of work tomorrow so I don’t know if I’ll get to ride.

Day 22

Took a day off yesterday to take care of some family stuff. Today I rode 15 miles. It felt good so tomorrow I think I’ll do 20 which will get me back to where I was before I injured my back. Hopefully by the end of the week I will do a 25 mile ride. From most of the cycling blogs and so forth that I’ve read most training programs to prepare for a century ride basically amount to mileage mileage mileage so that’s what I plan to do. I made two purchases today. I bought a spare tube and a pair of riding gloves. I spent half the day with Dad. He says he misses taking care of mom but he’s doing pretty good I think.

Day 20

I’m back in the saddle again! Well my back is much better though not 100% yet so I took a chance and rode today. I cut my mileage in half and only rode 10 miles but I pushed very hard. So far so good with the back. I just hope I don’t wake up this Sunday morning like I did last Sunday. I know the break has set me back but I am trying to take the long view. I will reach my goal! I am determined.
I watched the Tour de France today for the first time in my life. Wow those guys are freaks of nature. I don’t know how a human being could possibly hold up to a grind like that for what 21 days or something? Too bad the favorite for today’s leg wrecked at the finish. Keep in mind I know nothing about racing but it looked to me like Cavendish leaned into the other guy and caused the wreck. Anybody have an opinion/insight?
If the back is feeling good tomorrow I’ll be back on the rode again.
Happy trails!

Day 14 & 15 SIDELINED

Frustration, flustered, anger, all of that and more is how I feel right now. The reason? I woke up Sunday morning to some of the most intense pain I have ever had. It would seem that my back injury is worse than I thought. Right now I have difficulty even tying my own shoes. This has happened to me once before about 4 months ago. It took me about a week to be able to move normally again with minor pain. I already have a prescription for muscle relaxer which helps some. As bad as the pain is the thing that is the most frustrating for me is that I can’t ride right now. I felt like I was off to a good start and now this. I don’t know how long it will sideline me, but at least for today riding is out of the question.
So for now I will live vicariously through some of you reading about your rides while praying for a quick recovery.