Saturday, December 31, 2005
Barely unpacked and still not near caught up on sleep after driving all night it still felt great to be out in the 39 degree weather. I'm a sucker for a good sunrise. They look better from the saddle. I'm REALLY looking forward to the sunrise on 4/30/06.
Big chain/shifting probs on my other road bike had the gears jumping around on their own. Bailed out after only 2 loops. :-(
Ya'll be safe out there tonite and have a Happy New Year!
Friday, December 30, 2005
On the way back from bagels and coffee at Einstein's after the last road ride I glanced over at the local Police and their speed trap on Lakemont Rd. Next thing I know I hear the fft-ffft-fffft-ffft of a flat front tire
The tires were quite worn with close to 2500 miles anyway. Time for new rubber.
Nice that it happened AFTER the ride, and the brunch, within' a stones throw of the car on the last road ride of the trip.
At Alafia River I was riding "the Rock". An '05 Specialized HardRock Pro Disc. I keep this steed in Fla. so it doesn't see too much action. An XL frame that has proven quite bullet proof. At well over 25 pounds it should be. As we started the ride it didn't take too long to realize I had NO brakes! YIKES. I probably ride the brakes too much anyway. Some adjustment on the mechanical discs got the rear brake semi-functional, but for some reason we couldn't get the front working at all. It was almost like there was a film of something on the discs or pads. Even with the pads fully engaged the wheel just kept on rollin.' Oh well, we rodeOn, me with 1/2 a brake. Wasn't really a big deal...................................UNTIL...........................
"Some drops have relatively sudden turns. "
At the bottom of one drop on Rollercoaster there was a quick left turn, it was actually fortified with sand pushed up against a guard rail. Luckily I saw it early enough and knew instantly there was NO way one weak brake would scrub that much speed off, so I had a split second to yell a LOUD 4 letter expletive and scope a bailout/landing area. I hit the guard rail like a jump, went over a small ravine and stopped dead on the opposite side. I tried to absorb most of the landing with my legs but my (__!__) still hit the seat hard and claimed both seat rails.
We actually went througn the same section again, but I walked that drop. After finishing the loop we were sort of heading back, sort of looking for other places we might've missed, getting a nice flow going on the fine trails and I get some CRAZY noise from down below. WHAT!? A small branch had claimed my rear der hanger. Shite mon. I even had a spare, but the multi-tools we had didn't have a small enough hex for the two mounting screws. Again, lucky it was only a short hike back to the trail head.
So .....time to unload/load and hit the road
13 hours later .....home again.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Ridin' with JB
Where was I to go and play?
To the southwest of Orlando is a classic MTB trail system at Alafia River State Park. I'd read and heard of it often. It even was awarded "EPIC" stature by the IMBA. A description from the SWAMP club site :
"Gatorback and Rabbit Ears are very difficult shorter loops off Bridges and Sand Pine, respectively. These sections all include steep roller coaster dips, technical rocky sections and very difficult climbs and drops. Many of these have a steep, straight line descents followed by a short valley before the trail climbs rapidly up the opposite side. It is a roller coaster sensation that takes your breath away and gives extra "G" forces as your swoop suddenly transitions from a dive into a climb. Not all of these are a straight line down and up. Some drops have relatively sudden turns."
Let's reread that last sentence:
"Some drops have relatively sudden turns. "
OK then. Made it to the trailhead just after 8AM. Only 1 other car there. NICE. Off to warmup on the intermediate Bridges trail and I see a familiar Trek kit in the distance, man that looked like Jeremiah Bishop. Could it be? What would JB be doing down here? Winter training camp maybe? I know Nick is down here. Maybe he'll show up too?
Of course as hard as I tried there was NO hope of getting close enough to be sure.
It was really a nice Florida day. 61 degrees at 7AM and getting warmer all the time. The trails displayed some really slick building skills with uphill switchbacks, narrow man-made wooden paths, and really nice bench cuts.
A ride through the double black diamond Gatorback was classic Florida MTB to the extreme. 20-30 foot near vertical drops, followed by quick G-out transitions into vertical wall climbs.
Wait, there he was again........................ This time on a low line he slips right by me. Hmmm, didn't look like a Trek he was riding. I was close enough this time to see the red hair, and he was rail thin, lean, and fast. Dam.
Everytime I'd get close, he'd just snap a few power strokes and disappear into the Florida jungle.
Off to the other side of the trail system to ride Rollercoaster and Moonscape. A sign at the entry offered a valid disclaimer. The trails were pristine. Nice flowing bermed turns punctuated by those sheer vertical drops that'll take your breath away.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
So the day was spent cleaning bikes and my car w/Dad. Everything clean as a whistle now.
Met everyone at the Winter Park YMCA for the Wednesday 7AM group ride. High 40's and near dark made the beginning of the ride a bit chilly. Basically a reverse of the Saturday classic with a few loops around Tusca' (my 'hood) and a turn around at the end of Florida Road. 45-50 miles total, about a dozen of us. Smooth, strong, steady pace, with some sprints thrown in that I was never ready for. Bagels and coffee afterwards at Einstein's.
Todd is a diesel engine. The only way to keep him off the front and pullin' is with a strong elbow or a rope. He just doesn't stop. At Einstein's I hear he and Cori are doing a track workout later that day! WHAT!??! I guess ya gotta do what ya gotta do to kick butt. In case you didn't know - Sheryl (yes THAT Sheryl) is a BOBie.
Much thanks to the BOBie's groups for giving me a place to spin my wheels and good company while getting my
Monday, December 26, 2005
I first heard of Sugarloaf Mtn. after the 140 mile Race Across Florida last year. The field was full of triathletes who had trained at or had raced the Clermont hills. Clermont is a hot bed for national talent and home of the National Training Center for Sports, Health and Fitness. There are 2 Iron distance Triathlons in Florida (you can't put man on the end Iron anymore without paying someone to use the name :-) . The oldest of the 2 is called the Great Floridian and doesn't pay for the use of the Iron--n moniker. During that race participants have to go up Sugarloaf twice. I've heard the race is rated close to the Kona Iron--n in difficulty. SO anyway, I always wanted to check it out, and today would be the day.
I needed a day to go long. Not just to get some distance in but to try out new hydration/food stuffs. It was also a day to work on some navigation skills which I'll certainly be needing at T-IV2. So I printed up some Mapquest maps, drew up a cue sheet, and let my bike take me somewhere I've never been.
The BOBbies have a nice map of a hill route on their site called "The Sugarload". A 17 mile loop that includes Sugarloaf and some other nice climbs. SO off I went - to find the infamous Sugarloaf and score the Sugarload. I'd planned on leaving (at the crack of dawn) early, but decided to wait till after the 8AM morning traffic. I went with a (squeaky clean -->) 12-25 instead of the 11-23 cassette, in hopes that would be enough teeth to get me up the hills. Also removed my BB and reinstalled it as I was getting a troublesome click. Unfortunately it didn't help as the click was there the WHOLE day. It must be in the pedal. Nevertheless by the time I hit the road I'd already missed 2 hours of daylight.
It was "cool" by Florida standards with temps in the high 50s - low 60s. The wind was kickin' 15-20 with gusts to 25 out of the W. My cue sheets/maps/navigation skills failed in the first hour of the ride - WHOOPS. I found myself in Maitland AND going the wrong way. This required a quick stop in a 7/11 to purchase a map which got me back on track. It would be the only time I got off my bike during the ride. The next 2 1/2 hours were a brutal beat DIRECTLY into said wind. I started worrying if I'd even get to the hills in time to make it back before dark.
I went through Wintergarden (the third town on this ride with "winter" in the name - are there that many towns up north with "summer" in their name?) and was pleased to find the West Orange bike path on the other side that ran 5 miles to Killarney. Florida is REALLY a bike friendly state. There are trails everywhere that will "eventually" be linked up. Even a Cross Florida Trail that will go, you guessed it, the whole way across the state. (<---) Saw some interesting riders/rigs on the way.
The hills started after Killarney. The area certainly didn't have the look/feel of Florida. NO, this isn't the Rockies, the Shenandoahs, or even Decorah Iowa, but hey - hills are hills and I was hell-bent on riding some. Even if it meant pedaling 3 hours to find 'em. Up Old Route 50, through the nice town of Monteverde and I could tell the hilly grail was close. I started seeing cyclists out training and the shoulder was decorated with lots of "road hickies" marking the routes for many rides. I wasn't too worried about time now. There should be enough time for at least 1 Sugarload loop. Up "The Wall" which sort of took me by surpise, then Buckhill, then there she was. First I see the the Street sign then take the turn and look ahead - SUGAR baby. Time to put your head down and power up. Looking down at the ground I see "OUCH!!" Gave me a good chuckle. I tried to imagine what it would look like the second time up toward the end of a 112 mile ride knowing you STILL had 26 miles to run............no thanks.
The rest of the way up the road had some cool spray-painted cycling graffiti. The 25t cog did fine, but hey - it HAD too. I finished the loop and started another one, but time was getting tight. I was over 5 hours into the ride and had to make it back before dark, so I cut out Buckhill Road by turning up Rt 561 and went back for another run up Sugarloaf. You get a great view of Lake aPOPka at the top of the climb. The downhills were fast, and most of them had a wicked cross wind. Lucky there wasn't any traffic out there 'cause I got blasted sideways a few times while cruising down at near 50mph.
The best thing about riding 3 hours into a 20mph wind -----you got it----RIDING BACK! Man that was FUN. I felt like I could've coasted at 18-20. Pedal to the metal spinnin' on the 12 and 13t, getting funny glances from cars in the 35 mph speed zones. Why is it cars ALWAYS want to pass, even if it means going over the speed limit?
In the end I made it back just before dusk after 8+ hours in the saddle. I'd guess 210-220km. Only stop was to buy a map. A camelback full of PowerBar Recovery, 2 large water bottles filled with Hammer Perpetuem, and a bunch of Orange Gu's got me through. If I was going further I'd of stopped to refuel probably at hour 7 as I was a bit behind the energy/hydration curve in the last hour, but I was almost home and it was getting dark. I really felt great, even at the end of the ride, but that could of been due to the tailwind. My stomach handled the protein laden drinks fine, so I guess Gatorade (my old standby) is history. Oh Yeah - If I can get lost and off track on busy Florida streets in the daylight, how will I do in the middle of Iowa in the middle of the night? GULP. I guess we'll see!
Sunday, December 25, 2005
makes sense if you get it.
Dave gets it. I guess the B.U.S.S. , G.U.S.S., P.U.S.S., S.I.S.S., S.A.S.S., D.I.S.S., and C.U.S.S. were discontinued? Here's to Bianchi for keeping it real (and for sponsoring Team LeakyGas). Got some nice miles in with some great folks and Todd topped it off by having us over for a nice bagel and coffee brunch complete with fresh squeezed Florida OJ. I had a nice tailwind on the way back and only got caught by a "small" Florida downpour.
Thanks to the whole crew for helping me get my
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Christmas Eve Ride
47 degrees as I rode down to Winter Park in the pre-dawn darkness to hook up with the first 7:30 group for the 41 mile loop. WHAT? This is Florida?!?! It warmed up quick as the sun rose. At Thanksgiving I went on this ride for the first time and it was all I could do to hang on to the fast group. Looked like a few less this time as we rolled out, but we picked up many in the early miles. Gotta believe we had about 50, with some familiar faces in the crowd. This time no one was ready to pin the pace from the start so we eased into it. Took a few pulls and stayed in the first 10 for the first half of the ride and got to see the real action. The last pull worked me and it was all the way to last wheel. After fighting back through to the front as we went through Tuscawilla I jumped from second wheel and got a quick 20 yard gap before they reeled me in. Easy to pull a stunt like that when you know you're not riding the last 6-7 miles! I sat up, did a cool down loop around the neighborhood and went home for the Holiday festivities. Every time riding with a group like this I learn a lot about position and pace. It's WAAAY easier to take those turns at the front of a large pack than the back. Really a great bunch of cyclists to ride with.
Hope your Holidays are going well
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Florida Mountain Training Camp
I'm hoping to put in some mega road mileage down there. Also wanna hit some primo Florida single track, and spend time with family.
It's nice to have registered events on the schedule for next year. Seems to give direction and purpose to training.
Man things get hectic before the holidays. I hope your plans are rolling along smoothly. Only 16,455 things left to do.
In the midst of the pre-holiday madness I hope you have time to get your
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
SO Trans-Iowa registration filled up 70 spots in 3 hours, with the first 50 or so spots going in 15-20 minutes. The race is over 4 months away and there is already a very active discussion forum on MTBR. I put a linky over to the left. I'm repeatedly amazed and impressed by the number of people out there willing to subject themselves to unbelievable feats of perseverance, pain, suffering, and accomplishment. I'll be proud and honored to roll up to the line with these folks, even more honored and proud if and when it's the finish line!
For the uniformed : Trans-Iowa is a solo self-supported (no rest stops, no sag vehicles) race across the state of IOWA. 337 miles long on gravel roads. One check point near 1/2 way where you'll be allowed access to the contents of a small drop bag. Other than that you are ON YOUR OWN! Last year only 9 finished out of 50 entrants. The high attrition was no doubt due to the temperature in the 20's WITH a 20-30mph wind. I have only 1 goal, that is to finish. There are some really fast, experienced endurance racers entered including Eddie O'Dea, Jeff Kerkove (the organizer), Mike Curiak (record holder of the Great Divide Race and other extreme ultra distance MTB races), I think 4 finishers from last year, and many others I don't know. Last year's winner was asleep at the switch and missed the sign-up, so he has to sit on the waiting list for an open spot.
Had a really nice ride today. Temps in the mid-high 20s without much wind. Started the 7:15er alone, but picked up KJ and his buddy on NICE CDale tandem shortly after starting. Man riding behind those guys on that rig is like sitting on a trainer at home, talk about drafting. If I could only hang a small flat screen TV on Kieth's back with a remote..................
Here's something really funny. You have to watch it a few times to catch it all.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
TriPower TriUmverate Trans-Iowa
JDiesel was there for all 3 on his sweet fixey. Then Liz joined us for the last 2 rides on hers. 2 fixeys and 2 tandems! NIIIICE. With Wild Bill in absentia Liz took on the rabbit role as she rolled through regroup 2.1, with an unknown rider. Amazing thing was - they stayed away for most of the way to Bay Colony! Impressive. The group moseyed in 2's up Shore drive, then as we hit Atlantic the tandem dudes made a vicious jump. I heard "this is it" behind me and before I could get out they were gone, with the tandem elders in tow. The ride finished out at warp speed down Atlantic. Art (on dayglo) countered strong, and took a bunch of us with him. At the end of the second loop the truth was told - Liz had Sherpa Harlan Tenzing Norgay guiding her break. She said it was the Sherpa that got her there but I gotta believe the water bottle had some secret psychological MoM mojo.
Has Harlan really been training in Tibet?
It was once again a great day on the bike (hmmm.......... I can't really remember a bad one).
Once home it was clean up then wait patiently in front of the computer to get registered for this event. Only 9 finishers out of 50 entrants in the inaugural Trans-iowa last year. This year the field expands to 70, but they made it longer!! AND eliminated outside support. 337 miles of "gravel road goodness" as Mr 24 says. Just you, your bike, and the miles!!!! Thats what it's all about baby! 57 entrants in the first 18 minutes.....it's filling up fast.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Finally got the 'cross video done. You can view it here. It appears Google smashes it down quite a bit from the 150meg original file size. Compression artifact everywhere when you go to full screen. It was a treat watching the race and filming it, but would of been more "fun" to be out there sufferin' with everyone. It was also cool editing the thing and trying to capture the whole vibe of the race. The first time I really tried to do anything like this. The real limiting factor was my computer, it's a nice laptop, (1.8 GHz w/.5GIG RAM) but even MS Windows Movie Maker pushed it to the edge. I got Pinnacle, but it would barely even run at all. Pro film makers must have some serious computing power.
It was even more fun seeing the guys that rode get all fired up while watching it.
The Cross race at the Beach is taking shape. Mount Trashmore should prove to be a great venue, with kids playground, skate park, barbecue, good visibility ............ AND the Beach's biggest hill! Mike already has the course laid out in his devious mind. Maybe he'll run the course up a vert ramp or 2!?! The thing that makes cross great is that it's so spectator friendly. Hopefully we can get a huge turnout at Trashmore and open the City's eyes to what it really could be. Yes----> that IS the highest point at the Beach, and it's man made out of garbage!
Turns out the Richmond Ciclismo folks are having a Cross race up in Richmond the very next day so that weekend will be all Crossed up! If I only had a Cross bike .................. hmmmm ........ Christmas is near ..............
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Cold is as Cold Does
The 7:15er started with just two, then Austin hopped in a few blocks after we rolled out. Good to see others keeping the cold weather dream alive. We did the manly thing and let the lady go first --->
Workin' a good 3 person pace line we got through wind and the loop nicely. A great way to start the day.
Added about 5 more at the 8AM and fought up through the wind once more. DAG is back and recovered from us tearin' up the homestead. It was nice of him to provide his house as locale for the Christmas party.
<--That's a V for Very cold or Very windy, or probably both.
Those are some frozen smiles. Except Art, he's back there with a suspicious grin thinkin' "Just get me up near that bridge so I can drop you all."
Monday, December 12, 2005
Day Off News
Cross is like Ballet with a bicyle---> ( Photo blatently stolen and edited from the Hup site.)
(Notso)FatMarc was out blingin' the pink lid to an incredible 24th spot in the 35-39 Masters. Well deserved awesome finish at the Nats. Much applause. Read a great report on his blog. Love2Ride file photo of Marc (on a SS) from 7Springs earlier this year <--
Finally finished up the Cross video from the Richmond race, and uploaded it to Google but it hasn't been verified yet. I guess they want to be REALLY sure there's no smut on it. Could be the file size (150meg) is boggin' 'em down.
Replaced Marla Streb's link with Jill's from Alaska. Mrs. Streb is expecting her first child, best of wishes. Jill's writing, riding, and photo skills are making her Blog an overnight classic. Just check this photo.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Time to Move
Premiered the final rough cut of the cross video to rave reviews. Still have to buff up the edits and I'll post it.
The plan was to get up REAL early at 0-darkhundred and put some triple digit fat burning miles in. A crew was headed up to MTB, another out early to join the Frogs, yet another out later for some team tactics/skills ride. I love having options.
I DON'T however love my f'in neighbor. Condo living is nice. Nice to be by the beach, nice not to have major outdoor maintenance issues. NOT nice when your neighbor decides to try and burn the place down.
AsI lay me down to sleep, with dreams of long smooth miles in my head, I dream I hear a fire truck siren.............................WAIT, it's not a dream, the things right under my bedroom window.
EF.... turns out said neighbor had a fire burning on deck, probably from ciggy butt, which other (good) neighbor smelled and tried to hose down from ground level. Good thing he has a good nose. When the firefighters went for the axe and prybar I knew it was gonna be a long night. Then the police come and finally leave at 4AM.
90 minutes later the alarm goes off. Resisted the urge to stay in bed, but had to do the TT of my life to get to the meeting spot. Less than 14 minutes from my door to Hilltop for a new PR and Prologue TT win (I was the only entrant). We got down to meet the frogs quickly, just in time for the group to take off. And take off they did. Seemed like I was always on the a$$ end of the split, then I bridge, them another split, then another bridge, then OTB, then WAY OTB. Oh well. Had a good workout anyway. I guess I needed more recovery than an hour sleep, 2 protein bars and some NA beer.
Surveyed the damage upon arriving back home:
Building chips/debris under deck.
Burnt out hole
All I can say is
I'll enjoy tomorrow's day off