Category "Balance"

Category "Cycle Racing"

Category "Triathlons"

Category "motivation"

October 7, 2006

Exercise as part of life

Over the past few weeks I've been struggling with having enough motivation to exercise. Part of the problem was that I was sick with a sinus infection and as the antibiotics started working I started to feel more ambitious and energetic. But also part of me was wandering around aimlessly without a goal to work toward. Since May I've been training really hard for my triathlons in August and September. I accomplished my goal and then was left with no planned events or goals to work toward. So my training kind of took a break. I was just barely maintaining my fitness level with a minimum of workouts per week.
And last year I had the same issue when the bike racing season ended in early Fall. But I'm happy that I started running again and now have swimming to work on. All of this has led me to get a Y membership and use the gym. If it weren't for the Y I probably would have let my exercise drop until I was ready to start working on a goal again. I've been using the equipment at the Y and spinning classes as low-impact, fun activities to exercise and enjoy doing it. It's easier to be motivated if there is little resistance to get going. And last weekend I ran three miles around Lake Phalen. It was absolutely beautiful outside and had company riding along side me on a bike. That was fun.
One of my main goals with starting triathlons was to develop a fit lifestyle. That means that I should not need specific race goals in order to exercise. I should be exercising to stay fit and healthy continuously. But looking ahead I feel better I also have in mind for next season... 3 sprint relays and 3 Half Ironmans plus a 10-miler running race in the Fall. I know how challenging it will be so I'd better get working on it.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:44 AM | Balance | Cycle Racing | Triathlons | motivation

Category "Bicycles"

Category "Cycle Racing"

Category "Life"

June 18, 2006

The Bike Race in Stillwater

Today I went to see the pro bicycle race in Stillwater. It was really interesting and fun to watch. It was difficult to know who the riders were, with only a general idea based on their team colors. But the announcers down below the hill did a good job of announcing the race and filling us in on who the fast riders were, who was favored to win and who was keeping their overall lead even if they didn't win today's stage.
This race FELT brutal just watching it. I had trouble walking up that hill. I did get a chance to get all the way around the course during the woman's and men's races to watch it from different angles. The speeds on the downhills and cornering were incredible and the raw power going up the hills was impressive. I had greater respect for the bike racers after seeing this race. Even the ones that got dropped from the race have my respect. An hour-long ride at those speeds on this course would have killed me, haha. Well, actually, no, it wouldn't have killed me, I would have been dropped before that happened. Not saying I'm not a good bike rider, but I just know from trying bicycle racing myself how hard it really is and how well-prepared the the athletes have to be for races like this.
Then after the fun of seeing pro bicyle races, I got to ride my bicycle back and join my family for a Father's Day dinner. What an excellent day!
Oh by the way, bicycling the Gateway trail is a cool way to get to Stillwater. There were hundreds of bicycllists out there. It's almost exactly 6 miles from the end of the Gateway trail to downtown Stillwater at highway 36. Pretty soon though they are going to have to widen that bicycle highway to accomodate all the traffic, haha. I think the roller-bladers had the roughest time avoiding the bicylists that weren't sharing the trail very well. I don't know any statistics, but I've been on that trail several times in the past month and saw the same levels of use. Of course those were all during the weekends, but it's a hopeful sign to me that people really really like and use this trail.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:44 PM | Bicycles | Cycle Racing | Life

Category "Cycle Racing"

Category "Triathlons"

June 14, 2006

Great River Energy Bike Festival Teardown

I didn't do the Time Trial tonight because I decided to save my money. I'm too focused on preparing for one event, August 20th. Last year I tried bike racing, this year it's a triathlon. So I didn't join in the festivities and won't be able to compare my time, but I did help tear down the fences and tents and other things set up along Shepard Road for the race. That was a good workout.
Today I ran in the morning before work, then swam at lunch. Tomorrow I'm supposed to bike for 45 minutes. So I'd better get to bed so I can function tomorrow. Tomorrow night I have my second swimming lesson.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:35 PM | Cycle Racing | Triathlons

Category "Cycle Racing"

September 24, 2005

Do the Jalapeno Hustle!

This morning I ran the "West Fest 5K Jalapeno Hustle", around Cherokee Park in St. Paul. That was a fun run. Official results are not posted yet, but I think I did about 22 minutes for 5K. The 5K race I did last January was 23:38 so I think I improved a little. We'll see when they finally post the results from today's race. I was a little out of breath when I crossed the finish line and am not sure if I was reading the numbers right, haha.
Now after standing on my feet all day rearranging the bike shop my legs are dead tired. I was planning on doing the cyclocross race tomorrow, but I'm skipping it. It's too far away, I'm too tired, and I have to finish the job I started at the bike shop (which is almost a total rehab). I know it will be much more functional when I'm done.
Regardless. I'm exhausted now. A hard run in the morning is hard on this body.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:35 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

August 31, 2005

Training Log

Cycling:
15 miles
Average speed: 16.5mph
Running:
0

This morning I rode down Smith, up the Ramsey hill, along Summit to Lexington, then North to Rosedale and back by the same route. I was tired this morning. I think the running drained my energy for this morning. I got enough sleep, but it was difficult getting up and motivating myself. But I at least got out and rode and did a couple of good hills. That might account for part of the slower average speed. But mainly it was being tired that made me slower.

Tomorrow is a running day.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:50 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

August 30, 2005

Training Log

Cycling: 0
Run: 5.5 miles

Today at lunch I ran 5.5 miles on the Shepard Road/Mounds Park route. My muscles feel tired but it's very cool that I do not feel any pain or stiffness after that! That is a good thing and shows I'm not totally out of shape anymore. A sign of progress and encouragement to continue this process. In my logs I'm not counting my commutes by bicycle as exercise anymore because it's not the same as hard training. The level of exertion just isn't high enough.

Posted by carl1236 at 3:06 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

August 29, 2005

Training log

Cycling:
5:45AM
17.7 miles
20.1 MPH Average speed
38.7 MPH Maximum speed reached
Running:
0

New goals for training:
start logging my training again.
Run every-other day for 4 weeks, minimum of 15 miles per week.
Cycle workout every-other day, minimum of 60 miles per week (not counting commute)
Then after 4 weeks, add running every day, with light runs every other day on cycling days.
In November add swimming to my routine once per week at the community pool.

I'm thinking about winter already. I was thinking about buying a trainer soon for my bike.
I don't have a real good plan, but I'm thinking that it will be difficult for me to do more than this. We'll see. At least I started logging it again so I can tell for sure what I'm doing and how much.


Posted by carl1236 at 9:17 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

August 16, 2005

Ah the cool, cool rain!

I went for a training ride with the Gopher Wheelmen starting at County Cycles. About halfway through the ride it started pouring and I got soaked. But it felt good and reminded me of my Spring training when it was raining almost every day. But by the time I rode up Smith Avenue on my way home, I was exhausted. I got home about 9:00pm, ate some dinner and watched a little TV and now it's time to get to sleep. It seems daylight training hours in the evening are getting shorter. I have to start thinking about lights again and maybe training in the morning and during lunch. I guess it's that time. Almost September and Daylight Savings Time, which really cut my training down last year. Tomorrow is a day for running.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:51 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

August 7, 2005

A race and a Ride

Today I did a bike race and I'm happy that I did it. I did have a problem breathing though. I haven't worked that hard since my last time trial and it felt like I couldn't get enough air. After the race Dan and I went for a 24 mile ride. I ran out of water and decided to back off the pace to keep myself cool. However...I couldn't help trying out my new cog-set. I put an 11-23 9speed on my bike yesterday. The smallest ring I had before was a 13. On the first long downhill today I hit 38.1 mph using the 11-tooth ring. The second long downhill I hit 35mph. The third long downhill, I hit 31mph. Hey I was hot and out of water!

I guess bike racing is tapering off for the year so I'd better look at the schedule to find one more bike race. I'm going to do the Black Dog time trial in a couple of weeks and one road race.

I especially thank Andy and his wife for coming to the race to check it out and see me race! That was very cool to see you there.

I have some pictures, but I used my 35mm camera and will post some as soon as I get them developed.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:55 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

Off to the Races

Yesterday I 'fixed' my bike. I have to remove a few more links from the chain though because I made it too long. But I'll do it now. Other than that, I'm excited and nervous and anticipating the race. I wish I was better prepared for this one, but that is a lesson all in itself. Today's race will be a lesson. I get to learn a lot today! ;-)

Race Report to follow...

Posted by carl1236 at 7:57 AM | Cycle Racing

Category "CHANGE"

Category "Cycle Racing"

August 4, 2005

Charlie and the Cyclist Factory

Tonight I went on a training ride with the SPBRC group for 40 miles. It was a pleasant ride with a relaxed pace. I had a great conversation with Charlie, who I've also ridden with once on a Gopher Wheelman ride. He's a really nice guy and offered me a lot of good advice about bike racing. And he taught me a few more things I never really learned about pacelines tonight. I'm glad I decided to go.
On the way home, about a half-mile from my house I rode past a DQ and bought myself a treat. The Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard fit nicely into my water-bottle holder and was only marginally melted when I got home. It hit the spot.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to try again to get going, but given that it's 9:46PM now, I may have to exercise in the evening again. We'll see. The alarm's still set for 5AM.

Training is better if I have goals to look forward to. Sunday will be a good race I think.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:42 PM | CHANGE | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

August 1, 2005

Another hot ride

Tonight after work Dan talked me into riding with him at least down to the Mendota Bridge from Downtown St. Paul. I was planning on just going straight home, but decided to try it and see how it fealt. It was hot. We kept up a fast pace all the way there, between 18-25 MPH. Then at the bridge we parted ways and I tried to keep up the fastest pace I could. I did slow down a lot but that's because there is a lot of up-hill riding, including the highway 13 hill headed back to the West Side. The slowest I rode on that hill was 10 MPH, so I was happy with that. I did use a whole bottle of water riding the 13 miles home. I was really hot! But my heart, lungs and legs fealt pretty good! I'm really happy I decided to ride with Dan tonight.

On the topic of Dan, I just want to say how great of a mentor he is. I really appreciate his gentle prodding to get me to do more, and to not give up. It's great to have a friend that's willing to go the extra mile to help someone develop. That's Dan. There is more to Dan though, and to me he is a hero in everyday clothes. Dan commutes by bike every single day from Brooklyn Park, about 17 miles every day each way. He doesn't ride all the way during the winter, but does ride to and from the bus stop about a mile and a half away before and after work. He's also a fantastic bike racer.
I want to share Dan with you because this is what happens to some pro athletes who no longer race as pro's. Dan not only has a good heart, he's a superb athlete who has a history of winning races. I went to his house once and saw his trophy shelf with probably fifty-some trophies, mostly for Triathlons he won when he was younger, like the Turtleman and others. I also know that Dan used to be a pro bike racer but quit after he was diagnosed with diabetes. He still rides and races but has to plan his insulin to adjust for riding hard.
In Yesterday's State Championship Criterium at the U of M, Dan took 4th place I believe. Then he decided to ride another race a little later in the day and took 10th or something. And that's after riding in the front most of the way! He told me he was just trying to avoid a crash because the course was kind of technical. Another little-known fact is that Dan has been racing an old steel Bianchi that outweighed almost every bike in that race and has down-tube shifters! He says that's a real problem on courses with hills. I can imagine how much of problem when you have to take your hands off the handlebars to shift. You could lose a lot of momentum! But these were hot bikes in the old days. It takes a confident, special rider to use one of these in a race now. Dan is that kind of rider. Sadly his frame is cracked and creeks when he rides. Did you hear it in the race? He already has a new bike ordered (much lighter) and hopes to have it before the Dakota Crit next weekend. I can't wait to see him race it. I hope he gets it in time.

In today's newspaper's there was not a single word about this bike race at the U of M. To me this race and the people who are riding it is better news than some of the ignorant reporting they call news. (ie. Bob Sansevere and Joe Sucheray) Why is it that our papers totally ignore Cycle racing? Unless it's something major like a historic Tour de France win, and then probably only because they knew every major paper would carry that one so they didn't want to be the only one's who didn't.

Of course the local and national bike racing scene is not football, basketball, Hockey or baseball; the American pie sports. Only recently has American newspapers started to open up to Soccer even. And then only briefly with events like the Olympics and World Cup finals (If Americans are playing). The rest of the world is in love with Soccer. Tennis seems to make an appearance occasionally with Wimbledon and Serena Williams. But I'm sure these sports go on all year round with many other exciting and tournaments. And there are many hero's like Dan, and many other's who will go unreported because it's not 'newsworthy.' I guess it depends on what is important to the readers, right? So I'm reporting it here for those cycling enthusiasts I know that read this.

Today's hot ride was great and gave me a total of 26 miles today. Thanks Dan! I needed that boost and it fealt really good.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:08 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

Ok, So I was Wrong!

There is ONE single beginner's bicycle race and instead of not doing ANY bicycle races this year, I changed my mind. I'll be doing this one:

The SPBRC Criterium Challenge 2005
Sunday August 7th, 2005
1.25 miles per lap at the Dakota County Technical College
1300 145th St. E (County Rd. 42), Rosemount, MN

They have all the classes including the added races for "Beginner's Program Men" and "Beginner's Program Women" I fall into this class of racers, although I'm sure some of the people who attended the Beginner's progam are going to be racing in one of the other classes, or both.

My race starts at 10:01 AM and is the shortest of them all, along with the junior's race, lasting only 20 minutes. The other classes run 30, 35, 40, 45 and finally 60 minutes for the Men's Cat 1/2/3 who race last at 1:50 PM.

Entries close 15 minutes prior to start of each race. I better not be late, haha. Oh, I like this..."Promoter reserves the right to combine fields." I hope they don't combine the Beginner's Program Men's race with the CAT 4/5. I like the idea of racing for 20 minutes verses 35!

We'll see how it goes. This week then I have to focus on getting my bike tuned up and ready to go. I'm getting a new sprocket on back, a new chain and fixing my bottom bracket. I am nervous about this race. That should probably be expected being my first real race (not including the ice-crit races, which was more like mountain bike double track, but on a flat, slippery surface)

Why am I nervous? Because of self-doubt and lack of serious training over the last month. I had already written bike racing off for the year, but now I have a race in less than a week with no train-up for it. I've been getting kind of slack over the past month. The other reason is simply that I have never really experienced a criterium like this on my road bike. I don't know what to expect.

Posted by carl1236 at 4:38 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

July 31, 2005

Training ride gone bad (good)

This morning I went on a training ride by myself. I decided I wanted to see where the Midtown Greenway ended, so I rode along Summit to East River Road to Lake Street and over to 18th to hop on the Greenway. Lake Street is a horrible road to ride bike on! It's really bumpy along the edges and car drivers are possessed by speed demons. Once on the Greenway I felt all the tension melt away as I was able to get up some speed and ride without bumps. I got a steady rhythm going and finally took a break at Lake Calhoun. There I filled my water bottles, cooled off and got back on my way.
I circled back around to the Greenway and kept heading West. When I passed by the Kenilworth trail, that was as far as I had gone before, so I really didn't know where I was going. I just kept following the trail around until it met up with the Kenilworth again near downtown Minneapolis. That was cool! Once in Minneapolis I got on some road, riding toward downtown. Right at Nicolette Mall I got a flat tire. Ok. No problem right?
I found a nice park bench, pulled out my kit, took off the front wheel, pulled one edge of the tire off, pulled out the tube, pumped it up to find the hole, released the air, patched it, put it back in, put the tire back on and began to inflate it. About halfway through, my pump broke and air started leaking out the handle. This is a Blackburn double-action pump and is supposed to be a good pump but this is the second time it's broken on me and left me stranded. I looked all over downtown for a cyclist that had a tire pump and as far as I knew the bike shops downtown were closed. I did walk up to One-on-one just to make sure, but sure enough. Closed on Sundays. So, I walked back down to Nicollet Mall and was planning on hopping a bus to go home with my bike in tow and head drooping. But then I saw the Target store. I went in and bought a ten-dollar Schwinn tire pump and solved my problem. After coming out I met this great guy who was riding a single-speed fixed-gear bike. We talked for a few minutes and he told me, "Once you try it you will never go back!" He also gave a ringing endorsement of One On One bike shop as experts on Fixies.
I got my tire pumped back up and headed over to the river through downtown. I found the entrance to the river road by the old grainery museum (by following another cyclist) I think eventually, being a cyclist, I'll learn my way around better just by getting out there and doing it.
So, I got a new pump, enjoyed learning my way around Minneapolis, met a fixed-gear rider and got a good workout in with a few rest breaks inbetween. Then after coming home, I even had time to even take a nap! My training has been pretty sporadic lately, almost nil really, except for commuting everywhere by bike, but this felt good.
My plan is to change myself into a morning person starting tomorrow morning. I'm going to bed early tonight and going for a hard ride before work. I think this way I will miss fewer rides and get in better shape.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:46 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

July 24, 2005

Tour de France Over - Feeling like retirement

As the Tour de France ends and Lance wins his seventh Tour he's headed into retirement from cycle racing and I'm feeling a little bit like I've already retired, before I've even raced in a real race. Well, I've done time trials, but that's not the same as a road race or criterium. It's been exactly one year now since I was introduced to the bike racing crowd: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/carl1236/dailyspirit/003379.html

Even if I've gotten in pretty good shape, I don't feel like I'm capable yet of staying in a road race or criterium. There is no such thing in the cycle-racing world as a 'beginner's race' They have CAT 4/5 races, but these seem all too fast for my conditioning. So a year after I thought about doing bike racing I'm feeling a little like I've already retired from it. Haha, I'm old enough that many people my age have already quit before I even started. But that's not the point. Now my plans have to change and I have to refocus. I'm planning on trying Triathalons next year and then someday maybe I'll go back to road racing. Triathalons seem more like time trials than group road racing. These are individual events and have a wider range of people at different fitness levels participating. My main fear with cycle racing has been getting in the way of those who are faster, and then being yanked from the race for being too slow. My fitness level is better than it was a year ago, but not quite up to the level of these CAT 4/5 races.

I don't know what I'll do about this feeling yet, but I'll keep working on my fitness level as I commute and ride everywhere on my bike. Like the Tour de France final stage, after a year of working so hard, this feels a little anti-climactic.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:41 AM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

July 6, 2005

Tour de Minneapolis

Wednesday for my training ride I rode 41 miles. I was on an adventure, checking out new things for me. Here are the highlights:
I stopped at 3 bike shops along the way - Carlson Cyclery on Minnehaha, The Hubb further up the road and Sunrise Cyclery by the Greenway. I was happy to see that all three of these bike shops sell used bikes! Why is this such a big deal for me? Because of our disposable society and because there is a place for low-cost bikes - not everyone can afford $1000+ bikes and it makes the mobility and freedom that bikes offer more attainable for everyone.

I loved the staff at the Hubb who answered our questions about bikes with honesty and straight talk. They also had a very nice selection of bikes from $40 classics to new $1500 racing bikes.

Minnehaha. I had never ridden this road past the Minnehaha Falls park, but on this ride I felt the impact of what it means. I saw maybe a couple dozen bicyclists using it going both ways. It's a bicycle commuter's road with bike lanes on both sides. This combined with my ride on the Midtown Greenway and the Kenilworth trail all the way into downtown Minneapolis, proves that Minneapolis is WAY ahead of St. Paul in being a bicycle-friendly city. We'll just have to work on that won't we?!

Question: Why are so many of the street name signs along these trails (Greenway and Kenilworth) vandalized- painted over? Ignorance? In our society which is supposed to be so advanced and so enlightened, why does ignorance persist?

After my Tour de Minneapolis, I came back to St. Paul along the East River Road, across Summit. I stopped by the bike shop and all the volunteers were fixing bikes, grilling and eating hotdogs. We fixed up and gave away two bikes to a couple of neighborhood kids who were attracted to the excitment around the shop. They helped out loading up the trailer and cleaning as payment for their bikes. My respect and admiration go to their mom though. A little while after the kids left with their bikes, they showed up with their mom. She couldn't believe that people were giving away bikes and wanted to make sure her kids didn't steal the bikes. She called her kids on it and brought them back down to the shop to verify their story. The mom was thankful and appreciative and the kids got their bikes and a chance to prove their honesty to their mom. The mom, I thought, was being very responsible when it came to her kids. Even though she didn't believe her kids when they told her they got the bikes for free, it does show that she is genuinely involved in raising her kids. She took the time to verify what they said. And when they showed up with their mom, Dave did nothing but praise the kids for the work they did. I think the mom was satisfied and proud of her kids then. This is part of community building.

I got a great workout in and look forward to riding through Minneapolis again soon.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:59 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

June 30, 2005

When Pain is good

Tonight after work I went to County Cycles and rode with the Gopher Wheelman. It was hard for me because I've been slacking lately, but it felt really good to inflict some pain on myself (push myself really hard). I couldn't stay with the group for the whole ride so I took a shortcut that cut about 9 miles off my ride. About 5 miles from the shop the lead group of 4 caught up to me. I was really happy to see them because I was already riding by myself dealing with the strong winds and was tired, so I drafted behind them the rest of the way in. When we arrived I used the bathroom and came back out to see the second group come in. After the ride I was at 60 miles and still had another 10 miles to ride home. Now just after 11pm, my legs are stiffening up and I'm tired. I can tell I had a good workout. When I told my wife how good it felt, she told me, "They have medications for that." haha.
I'm really happy Dan asked me to go to this ride with him tonight. He could tell I've been in a little slump lately with my training. But tonight I trained and it was good!

Posted by carl1236 at 11:11 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

June 22, 2005

The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak

My body isn't keeping up with my motivation to do things. Tonight riding home on my bike I felt like I was weaker than when I first started riding last year. I felt like I've been sitting on my butt all year watching tv, eating McDonalds. But maybe my body doesn't recover very quickly. But still, my forward progress seems to have stalled. I know I'm in better shape than I was a year ago, but I'm also not progressing. Or so it feels right now.
Tomorrow morning I'm getting up early to ride with some guys from the SPBRC, just to get my workout in before it gets too hot. I'm a night owl so that will be tough to change. 5am ride start? Ouch. I'll be done riding by 7am. My body might be willing but my spirit is weak.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:56 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

June 13, 2005

The bunny hop

Tonight at our make-up training session for the rain days we had in the Beginning Racer's Program we practiced the bunny hop. That was fun. The objective is to "hop" the bike over potholes and other obstacles. It takes a little practice and coordination to pull up with both feet at once while lifting the handlebars and continuing to pedal. But eventually I got it. Maybe if I had practiced this before I might not have broken a spoke when I hit a pot hole on Sunday's ride.

Friday night is the Velodrome - Track Racing! I can't wait to experience it.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:24 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

June 12, 2005

Interesting day

This morning's 30 or so mile ride turned out to be 61 miles by the time I got home. At 44 miles at a good 19.8mph average speed I called it quits and headed for home by myself. Of course I was way out by Hudson when this happened but I had a nice ride all the way back on 10. It was a good time to think.

After this ride I was really tired. I stopped at the coffee shop and had a smoothy, then came home and showered, then rode away again to go on an organized leisure ride. That was really fun. What a strange contrast to the morning's ride.

Tomorrow night we have our last cycle racing class and then the track racing on Friday night. I'm excited to try that!

Posted by carl1236 at 10:25 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

June 11, 2005

Morning Sprint Ride

This morning I did the Saturday Sprint Ride with SPBRC group. It was fast. I did 49-and-a-half miles at an average speed of 19.9mph. They lost me on one hill. I can't believe the speeds they were taking these hills at! This ride I worked really hard! I eventually caught back up and then toward the end of the ride they lost me again because I had to slow down for a garbage truck that stopped in the road. Once I lost the draft, I was riding at about 23mph and they disappeared ahead sprinting on at about 36mph. I was doing ok until I had to slow down. It took me the whole way back to Grand Performance from Franklin Avenue to catch up to them. Finally myself and another guy caught up a block from the shop so we all finished together. That was a tough ride!
I'm riding with them again at 7am tomorrow, but they promised that ride was at a slower pace and only about 30 miles.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:47 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

June 9, 2005

more riding

I'm still riding. And eating more, and sleeping more, and feeling great and tired all at the same time. I went for a group ride at GP tonight and by the time I got home I had ridden 30 miles for the night. That was fun. Now I'm going to bed early again! haha. It might be a trend.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:08 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

June 8, 2005

Victory!

Tonight I rode in the Great River Energy St. Paul Time Trial. It was painful but good. I didn't reach my goal, but did about the same as the Lilllydale Time Trial. But I already knew that I've been slacking for the past month on training. This ride was a victory for me because I got in that zone where I was at my maximum performance. I was breathing hard and my legs hurt and kept going. I love time trials now because of the nature of the race. It's all individual. Each person is out there by themselves with no team tactics, no drafting, no breakaways. Just the body, the bike, the road, the mental games. One of the mental games I faced in this time trial was, "you don't have to push harder, it's just for fun anyway, you don't have anything to prove." Well, those thoughts are true, but don't help me push my limits. I responded by pushing harder, because I knew those thoughts were a sign that I was not at my limit yet.

Tonight I was really happy to see that almost the entire tear-down/cleanup crew were guys from the Sibley Bike Depot. There were about ten or so volunteers tearing down metal fences, podiums, starting ramp, tents and street baricades. It was fun work with a good crew of people to work with. And the cleanup didn't take too long so I was home before it got dark.

Another exhausting day in my training plan. Tomorrow I will be going for a long bike ride with the SPBRC after work. That means I get to eat a lot of food and drink a lot of water tomorrow also.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:21 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

Category "motivation"

June 7, 2005

Anticipation

Last night I slept nine and a half hours! I felt so good today that getting motivated for a run wasnít even a problem. And I had a great 3-mile run! Tonight is a rest night and tomorrow Iíll be riding a 4.5 mile time trial at : http://www.minnbikefestival.com

Tomorrow at lunch Iíll be walking down there to watch the pros do their time trials. The winners of this initial stage of the five-stage Nature Valley Grand Prix race will probably be riding about an average speed of 30 miles per hour. My goal is 23mph, which would be one mph faster than my first time trial. Iím not doing the rest of the series because I donít qualify, not being a professional or elite amateur. My first ever road race is in a few weeks at Dakota Technical College.

Tonight then will be quiet around my house. Iím planning on going to bed early, reading until I fall asleep, getting up at a normal time, riding to work and eating enough food to fuel me on to a faster time. Thatís my plan and Iím sticking to it! ;-)

Posted by carl1236 at 4:41 PM | Cycle Racing | motivation

Category "Cycle Racing"

June 2, 2005

46 Miles and the Break is over

Including my ride from work to Grand Performance and my ride home afterward, I rode 46 miles tonight at an average speed of 17.7 mph. I was so happy I was finally able to get a good workout in. I've had so many interuptions and lack of motivation given the huge amounts of rain we've had in the past month. So now my break is over and I have to start working hard again at training. I hope to actually do a real bike race soon so here we go...

Posted by carl1236 at 10:19 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

May 28, 2005

To Ellsworth and Back

Today I rode with Jim on the 300k Brevet. Given our time and conditioning for this ride we decided to only ride about 125-some miles, which is about 200k. Which is good; we got back before dark. My dogs were so excited to see me too. Overall today gets a 3-thumbs up! In two weeks I do the 400k.

5-29-2005 UPDATE to this entry:

Yesterday I rode 150 total miles with Jim. He sent me a few pictures so I'm posting one here. Yesterday was the first time I met Jim in person but I already knew what I experienced during our ride together; Jim has an authentic smile and a good heart. It didn't hurt that he brought some really awesome peanut butter and chocolate bars to share.

Here is the guy I shared 150 miles with:

28-May-2005-300K002.jpg

Posted by carl1236 at 11:54 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

May 10, 2005

The Gopher Wheelmen Know how to roll!

Tonight I rode with the Gopher Wheelmen club. The ride was 35 miles and fast, with an average speed above 20mph for the whole ride. When I finished I thought that I really had a good workout and was happy I was able to hang with them the whole way. Even on the 30 mph sprints. Then when I got back to County Cycles, one woman said that this was a 'slow ride for this group!' Haha, I cringe to think about their faster ride. I might try it some Tuesday night to see how fast it gets.
I think this ride went ok for me because I took in a lot of fuel today. I ate breakfast plus two lunches plus a snack right before the ride. When we finished the ride I finished off a bottle of gatorade and a clif bar. Then I proceeded to ride the 10 miles home.
It was a good experience, but I realized that this is the second night in a row I've been riding in the rain!

Someone threw a bag of glass bottles at us and hit one of the guys, then the bag crashed in a glass shattering explosion onto the ground in the middle of our group. Dan gets the hero of the day award for chasing the car down to get their license number. The guy who was hit called the police and the police looked up their license and were happy he's going to press charges, because they said these guys have had prior incidents of the same thing. Obviously they don't see how dangerous what they did really was.

When I got home I changed clothes right away and then ate again! haha. Then I had a rootbeer float! I love those, especially A&W rootbeer since it reminds me of my childhood summers. We used to live only a block away from an A&W. My grandma used to buy the jugs and bring them home so we got that as a treat. mmm.. Anyway, I ate a huge amount today, but somehow I don't think it's a problem. I'm sure one of the main reasons I did so well on this ride, is that I had enough energy.

Tomorrow is a rest day.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:25 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

May 9, 2005

Training is hard!

I knew this wasn't going to be easy but when I made the decision last year to start bike racing this spring, I had no idea what that committment would really entail. Today I ran at lunch, that was fine. Then I went to class and I was freezing in the rain, then sweating coming home. Now I'm exhausted. Besides biking, all I got done tonight was eat, then eat again, then type this.
I know I have to intensify my training just to be able to compete, but that really is the difficult part for me. Intensity = time + energy. I asked myself in the rain tonight what I'm trying to prove. The answer is nothing. I'm trying to experience bike racing. I can't experience it without actually doing it. I cannot actually do it without working really hard.
So tomorrow after work I'm going for a ride with the gopher wheelmen club. That should be interesting, if it doesn't kill me, hehe. Then Thursday night is the SPBRC beginners group ride which should be about 30 miles by the time I get there and home. Yes, training is really hard, but it's worth it.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:17 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

May 8, 2005

Time Trials

Today I did the Lillydale Time Trial. It was an interesting experience. Iíve seen time trials on TV but not in person and Iíve heard people talk about them. But now I got to experience one. Based on how Iíve been riding my friend Dan helped me set a goal for today, which was somewhere around 21.5 miles per hour average speed for the five miles. I rounded up to 22 mph. Somehow without really being able to tell while riding, my average speed ended up at exactly 22.0 mph. Given my current conditioning I donít think I could have given it much more today. But now I have a benchmark for future training and racing.
I think there were about 115 racers there today all trying to go all out and test their own limits. Dan said, ďIn a time trial you try to get up to your pain threshold as fast as you can and then try to hold it.Ē I was in pain. Mostly my legs were burning, my throat was dry and my lungs felt like they couldnít take in any more oxygen. Also, my hands started to go numb on the lower drop bars from the pressure. As far as the mental game goes, there were plenty of opportunities to refocus on what I was doing. My mind kept trying to wander and think about other things and I found myself slowing down. I pulled myself back to the present and pushed harder.
After the time trial ended, I waited around for the results and chatted with the other racers. That was fun and interesting. Now tomorrow night is the Beginning Racerís Program class again, so Iím off to bed now to make sure I get enough rest tonight. I had an excellent day, with excellent results for my first Time Trial.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:21 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

May 2, 2005

What do 50 adults do on bikes together on a cold night in the state park?

Tonight was the first night of the Saint Paul Bike Racing Club Beginner's Racing Program (BRP). For almost two hours we learned about various techniques for riding in a group. We practiced bumping into each other, taking turns at the front, signaling, etc. It was a good class! In spite of the cold everyone showed up.
I rode my bike there, but I was really surprised at how many people dished out the dough to pay for a State Park sticker for their car so the could drive to the class that teaches how to ride. There were several people who rode their bikes, but the majority of them drove a car with their bike on the rack. I don't know if I can draw any conclustions from this but it just struck me as odd. I am getting the impression that there are many bicycle racers that are not bicycle commuters. Maybe it was the cold tonight, or maybe everyone is just too spread out. I rode my bike for a half hour to get to class tonight. I know that when they start extending the rides outside of the park and adding miles to our training, I'll still have to ride at least 7 miles to get home. But that's ok too.
The class itself was really good and I already feel more comfortable riding in a large group. This does take practice to get comfortable doing it. For the first night of class I give this 2 thumbs up. So far so good. I'd recommend this to others who want to try bike racing.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:02 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

April 29, 2005

Long Ride Recovery

Tonight after work I rode with Dan to County Cycles in Roseville. I bought a few things I needed while Dan signed up with the Gopher Wheelmen bike racing club. After that we continued up to County Road E, then headed west to West River Road. Dan went North to his house, and I rode down to Lake Street, across the bridge to East River Road, then to Summit, down the Ramsey hill and back into downtown St. Paul. 31 miles. Added to my 5 mile commute I had a 36 mile day and it felt pretty good. All day today I was weak and tired but I ate 3 times today, plus had a cliff bar 1/2 hour before the ride. The ride was also not quite as fast as my previous ride, but still a good pace. Now I think I'm recovered from sunday's ride! It's only 5 days later!

Don't forget tomorrow is the Twin Cities Bike Club Swap meet. It's a place where members sell and trade their bikes, gear and anything cycling related. There will be thousands of people there. If you need anything bike related, this is one of the greatest events to go to.
Also, tomorrow night I'm going to be a movie star! haha. My daughter has a video production class and is doing her project on cycling. After the swap meet we are going out to do the shoot. haha. I can't wait to see what she does with it! The last video she did had me laughing. It was really good and comedic.
You probably won't be able to see this one in the theatres near you. But it will be well produced I think. Of course I might be biased about the producer. haha.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:09 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

April 27, 2005

Sustainability

This morning and today at work I experienced a period of low-energy. My muscles are tired and weak. Sunday I did a hard 60-mile bike ride. On Monday I only rode about 5.4 miles on my bike and Yesterday I rode 6 miles on my bike and ran for about 2 miles.
This morning I tried to ride with Kevin and Rich. It was ok at first, but I quickly felt exhausted and weak. I couldnít maintain their pace. After about 10 miles, I slowed down to a 16mph pace on a straight, long-flat stretch. I only rode with them 13 miles this morning. I felt like my muscles just didnít have it and my lungs were breathing as hard as they could. Iíve been yawning all day. Even last night I went to bed fairly early, so I know I got about 7-8 hours of sleep.

Maybe it was the cold,
Maybe I need more recovery time after such long, hard rides,
Maybe I need more conditioning to sustain a rigorous workout schedule.
Maybe Iím not ready for that group of riders
Maybe I didnít have enough fuel, since I skipped breakfast, thinking Iíd eat afterwards.
Maybe itís like the song, Ďthis old gray mare, she aint what she used to be, aint what she used to be.í Haha.
Maybe itís a combination of some of these or all of them or something else.

In any case I could not sustain a high level of energy for very long today. By 4pm I was even nodding off at work. Today I ate two lunches, tonight I plan on getting a good nightís rest and in the morning eating Ĺ hour before my ride tomorrow with Kevin and Rich again. Weíll see how it goes.

By the way, in my experience, all the bike racers Iíve met so far are super nice people. This is a good spirit to have. I especially recognize Kevin who rode back and tried to reassure me that itís ok and that I probably needed more recovery time after that ride on Sunday. He said Iíd feel better tomorrow. It was nice of him to take the time to do this.

As far as my athletic plan goes, it will take time and a lot of hard work and my ability to sustain will improve. By next year at this time It is my belief that Iíll have a much stronger base with improved nutrition and fitness habits. Iíve already made such great changes and a low-energy day may be reason to evaluate what I am doing and how I am doing it, but is no reason to give up.

Posted by carl1236 at 4:59 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

April 24, 2005

The Non-Iron Crotch

A summary of the ride today:
60 miles
3.5 hours
17.1 mph average speed
Holy cow there are a lot of hills in Western Wisconsin!

We rode from Stillwater up to Osceola, then East, South and West back to the beginning point. I had several 8mph hills on this ride and for a few yards 5mph. But most of the hills I took at a much faster pace. There was also a strong headwind for part of the ride which made it interesting and challenging. The good thing though was that I dressed appropriately and was not too cold or too hot.

I lost steam after about an hour and my pace slowed considerably. I thought I would feel more tired than I did overall, but maybe if I had gotten more sleep I would have done even better.

Overall I give this ride two thumbs up. But after 60 miles at that pace I was wishing for an iron crotch. I was tired, no pretty exhausted when I got home and a little stiff, but not sore. After running some errands with my wife I took a 1 hour nap and then worked on my bike projects outside, as if I didn't get enough fresh air today! haha. I survived the ride, although a little exhausted, but now I am wondering how I will do on the 200k brevet ride next month. Thats more than double what I did today and probably equally as hilly.

I think today was a success for my training purposes.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:21 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

April 23, 2005

The big ride - So little time.

Well, this is definately not a good way to prepare for a 60 mile training ride! Staying up until midnight, getting up early and then riding 60 miles can't be healthy for the body. But I worked today, ran some errands, cleaned and re-lubed my bike because it was in bad shape, fixed my speedometer and came online. Where did my time go? haha.
I would have prepared last night, but I was at the art-crawl until 10pm. I would have prepared Thursday night but I was out riding. This is a lesson I've been learning over and over. I recognize that now. Real athletes, and non-athletes all need a proper balance of physical exertion and rest. So when I don't get enough rest, my body doesn't function as well. I have been doing better about getting to bed sooner overall, but still have a long ways to go for proper training.
Tomorrow afternoon I'll let you all know how it felt. A lesson will be reinforced. ;-)

Posted by carl1236 at 11:58 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

April 18, 2005

There is a limit and it keeps stretching

This morning I met Rich at 6am for a 20 plus mile ride at a good pace. My odometer is still broken so Itís an educated guess, erring on the low side. Then I went to work and remembered I had a meeting in Roseville at 1:30pm, which is 10 miles away. I rode there, had my meeting, and then rode back. That was good, but I was starting to get tired, so I ate a second lunch. It was only about a half hour before I was finished with work and I talked to my coworker and we decided to ride together up to freewheel bike. Thatís another 20 miles round trip. So by the time I crawled up Smith Avenue I was pretty tired. I just had a 60 plus mile day!
I ate dinner and collapsed for a while while watching the winners in each category reach the finish line in the Boston Marathon. These are very strong runners with an amazing pace for such a distance. I told my wife I wasnít planning on running a marathon this year. I have my limits.
On the ride home, somewhere along Summit Avenue I was passed by a guy wearing a ĎNow Fun and Sportsí jersey. I was in no mood to pick up the pace, but he got stopped at a red light so I caught up to him and struck up a conversation. It was very interesting. Heís working on increasing his miles on the bike because heís a triathlete and the Ďbikingí portion is his weak spot. Well, he also confided that he hates running and that swimming is really his strong suite. But he was out stretching his limits, to improve his race times.
Just two weeks until my Beginning Racerís Program (BRP) and Iím already getting excited about it. There are 60 people signed up and there are 10 volunteer coaches so weíll be split into groups of 6 based on how we answered the questionaire. Iím glad I answered honestly. haha. But my limits are stretching and my speed is increasing so Iíll be ready when the training begins. There are a lot of people interested in bike racing. I was kind of surprised. Tomorrow night I was going to bike to Edina out by Highway 169 to see the first Opus Criterium bike race of the season, as a spectator, providing itís not pouring down rain. That will be another large mileage day for me, so now at only 9:55pm, Iím going to bed. My limits have been reached for one day. Maybe tomorrow will be a rest day, weíll see.

In the news, Lance Armstrong announced that he will be riding in the Tour de France this year to win a 7th time, then heís retiring from pro-racing. I guess even he has his limits, and they stretched considerably over the past 6 years. Itís interesting to me that as I begin bike racing Lance is retiring. But of course Iím not making a career out of bike racing, just increasing my miles and spending a lot of time doing it, haha.

The Iron Crotch ride is coming up on April 24 which is a 60 mile ride. That will be like today, except all in one ride. I know what my limits are, I think, and they will be stretched for that ride.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:53 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

April 9, 2005

Breaking down by a bike shop is convenient

Yesterday I rode fast from St. Paul along Shepard Road, through Crosby and Hidden Falls parks, back to Ft. Snelling, along Hiawatha and North to Brooklyn Center. On the way home I had a disaster near Freewheel bike and was thankful to get back on the road quickly. Good service.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:44 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

April 8, 2005

Running after an injury

My co-worker had warned me about injuries. After my last running race my upper legs hurt. I violated a rule of not increasing speed or distance too soon. I had not been running long enough to run that race. Yesterday I ran again at a slow pace and feel ok.

Posted by carl1236 at 6:23 AM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

April 6, 2005

The only way to get faster is to do speed work

This morning I went for a very fast 23-mile ride with the two guys I met last night at the St. Paul Bike Racing Club spring party, Mike and Kevin. It was really good, but in my haste to make it to the meeting place on time, I accidently left my tire pump at my house. I had cleaned my road bike and re-lubricated it the night before and had taken the pump off the bike. So, here I was going on a ride with patch kit and tools, but no pump.
As we were leaving the parking lot by the grocery store where we met, I said kind of off-handedly, ďI forgot my tire pump, so hopefully I wonít get a flat.Ē The ride was going great until I got a flat and they were spinning on ahead of me at a rapid pace until they were out of sight. I knew they wouldnít leave me there, so I began to take apart my tire to fix it. I pulled out my patch kit and took the tire and tube off. Then I waited. Soon enough both of them came riding back to help out. They knew something must have been wrong because I was nowhere in sight when they looked back. Kevin pulled out a spare tube from his bag and threw it in there, then put my tire on really fast, pumped it up and put it back on my bike. It took him about 5 seconds it seemed. I still struggle with changing tires. It takes me much longer. The last time I changed my own flat, it took me 15 minutes! Kevin told me the first change I have to make for group rides is to carry a spare tube and patch the old one at home. Putting a new tube in is faster than trying to find the hole and fixing the old tube. Good idea. Now I carry a spare tube with me.
While riding with these two guys this morning I talked to Kevin quite a bit and he gave me a lot of pointers about riding. The first was about proper drafting techniques, making sure I cover the brakes with my hands in case I have to stop suddenly and watching the wheel and the shoulders of the guy in front of me so I can see when he is stopping or slowing. These two guys were riding much faster than I am used to. On average we were riding above 20mph, and at times I was riding 23 and breathing heavily, while they were riding 26 and pulling away from me. I tried really hard to maintain the 26mph pace but it was clear to me I need more work to ride with these guys. Iíll get there, but I havenít been practicing like this. Kevin told me that the best way to increase my speed is to practice speed work. Riding fast like this will improve my race times and make me a better rider. When we were done I told Kevin I would ride with them again on Monday morning.
I was lucky to find a group like this so close to my house. I think itís especially important to match myself up with people of higher skill/capability levels to challenge myself to go beyond what I think I can do. Practicing riding at a faster pace can only help me. This is the same concept as interval training in cycling or running. It makes us faster.
Tonight I went to the Sibley bike depot to work on bikes again. I was happy to meet Nathan and to see Dan again. I fixed one kids bike by adjusting the spokes, putting a new tube in, cleaning it up and attaching a brake. Then I helped strip down a nice looking Trek bike that had been run over and bent up by a car. We scrapped that frame and saved everything else to put on another frame. Then I worked on a mountain bike, putting on two new tires. With these two tires I tried to change them as fast as I could. I must say that practicing something at a higher velocity does make me faster at the task. Then I bought the same tires for my mountain bike and plan on changing those tires soon. After a while I think it wonít take me very long to change a tire. The last bike I worked on was a total rebuild and was taking a long time, so we didn't finish. It needed new brakes on front and new cables.
Also before I forget, Dan helped me adjust my rear derailer so it wouldn't hit the spokes when changing into the lowest gear. Now I know how to adjust that. Thanks Dan!
Now because itís been a very long day, Iím off to bed exhausted. Iím going to take a nice easy ride into work in the morning, then run at lunch time, but not do speed work. In this case I need to make sure my injury doesnít return. Running fast wonít help me until I build a stronger base.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:52 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

April 5, 2005

St. Paul Bike Racing Club Spring Party

Tonight after work I rode my bike over to the Summit Brewing Company for the St. Paul Bike Racing Club (SPBRC) Spring party. They are one of the sponsors of the club and hosted the annual party in their large party room with pizza and free beer. And it looked like these cyclists enjoyed the beer. I did. I tried 3 different types of beer. I like beer but donít drink very often, so you can imagine what 3 small glasses of beer did to me. Whew! Iím glad they also had rootbeer, which I think is a good tasting rootbeer. I never knew they brewed rootbeer also. Thankfully by the time I had to ride my bike home, my head was back to normal and the ride home was a good workout.
The whole event was only two hours but it was good. We all put name tags on when we first walked in and then about 6:15 they brought in what looked liked 20 or 30 boxes of pizza which were all gone by the time we left. There were a lot of hungry athletes in the room! I met the organizer of the Beginnerís Racing Program (BRP) and chatted with him for a few minutes, then went to stand in line for pizza. I found a table and while I was eating another one of the BRP coaches walked by and started talking to me. It was a good conversation about what to expect during the first couple of weeks of the BRP which made me feel more comfortable about the whole thing and consequently made me feel good about my decision to join this class. All of the BRP students were asked to put ďBRPĒ on our name tags so we were easily recognizable. After talking to two of the coaches I started wandering around looking for other BRP members and ran into Kevin. Kevin was there with his riding friend who is not in the BRP but is a member of the St. Paul Bike Racing Club and has done a lot of racing. They have a small team of four that does 4-person team time trials. I found out that they live right by me and go for a long ride every morning as a group. Other people from the SPBRC often join them so they invited me to ride with them in the mornings for their training rides. I accepted so tomorrow morning Iím going on a 20-30 mile bike ride all before 7:30am.
Also, a very nice surprise for me was running into Luke. Luke is the owner of the Highland Grill in Highland Park, one of my favorite restuarants. They are very busy all the time and it gets kind of crouded but the food is good. I know Luke because I painted their window several times. Last year and the year before I entered a window painting contest sponsored by the Highland Park Business Association. I think the first year I got second place, but thatís because another artist I respect a lot, Holly Tappin, painted a ĎChrismas Carolí scene that was really awesome. Actually sheís the one that got me started on window painting that year when I talked to her at one of her art showings. Anyway, Luke at Highland Grill is one of the Sponsors of the SPBRC. Painting a very large window was a challenge for me because everything was larger than me. It was a good experience because keeping things in perspective and proportion was difficult for me when I painted something so large. Here is a picture of one of the window paintings:

Window Painting

If you ever get around town, this is a neet little business area. Right across the street is a movie theater and a vietnamese restuarant and The Tea Source, which has many awesome teas from all over the world. Thatís where I buy tea. Then around the corner thereís a Half-Price Books, and across the Street and over a half a block is a Barnes and Nobles. And if you like imported wine and beer there is a liquor store in that same area that has an annual sale thatís worth checking out. And while you are in the area you can eat at the Highland Grill. Luke and his sister own it and are two of the nicest people Iíve met. When I was out there freezin my butt off painting the window, he instructed his waitresses to keep coming out to offer me hot chocolate. One day last summer I ran into Luke walking his dog and he stood and chatted for a while. Being a nice guy goes a long way to make a lasting impression. I like Luke because he always smiles and treats everyone like they are worth talking to. He even recognized me, even though I trimmed my beard short and cut off my pony tail since I last saw him. So running into Luke tonight was an added bonus that reminded me just how small the world is. I did notice the Highland Grill logo on our SPBRC jerseys but didnít put two and two together that Luke might be at this party so I was happy when I saw him.
As far as large window painting goes, Iíd like to find a building and paint a mural sometime. I think that would be fun. Right now Iím a bike racer, and with little time to spare that'll have to wait. Maybe I could paint bike racers on a wall. hehe.
Well, that was my night. It was a successful party and I'm happy I went, because I was reassured that the BRP is a good idea for me, met two new riding partners and saw Luke again, which reminded me of why it's good to be a nice person all the time. You never know when or where you'll run into someone from your past. He is a nice guy and lives it.
While Iíve been typing this, I was doing laundry. I already cleaned and lubed my bike to get it ready for tomorrowís ride, and now Iím off to bed. Remember you bicycle enthusiasts, Wednesday night is Volunteer night at the Sibley Bike Depot. Come on over and meet me in person! Iíd love to chat with you as we build bikes!

Posted by carl1236 at 11:57 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

April 3, 2005

The black Squirrel

Today commuting to and from Burnsville, 20 miles each way was a good experience. I practically had the roads to myself. This morning i was tired and went slow, I think because I didn't get enough sleep due to daylight savings time. But going home I focused on keeping a steady cadence. 1&2&1&2&! I tried to keep about 80-90rpms the whole way even up the big hills. By doing so coming home did the 20 miles in 1 hour - 6 minutes. Given that I wasted the whole first 3 or 4 miles dragging my butt because I was tired, this process actually felt good and reinvigorated me. By the time I got home, I was feeling great.
The highlight of my trip was spotting the black squirrel on Highway 13 hill coming North out of Mendota in the woods to my right. This morning because I felt so crummy, I questioned several times whether I could handle bike racing. Coming home I felt like I was improving and the season would be good for me. It felt good to get into a set cadence and keep time like a metronome. It was music to my legs.
This week I will meet others from the St. Paul Bike Racing club at their annual party. I'm looking forward to it. I'll also probably meet some of the people in the beginning racer's program with me, which starts in May.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:50 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

April 1, 2005

Freewheeliní

Today after work I did a training ride with Dan from downtown St. Paul, along Shepard Road, through Crosby Park, across 5, down into Ft. Snelling park by the old fort, up Hiawatha, along West River Road to Freewheel Bike shop. There I found a pair of Kool-Stop brakes for my bike. I canít wait until it rains again so I can try them out! hehe. Iím easily amused.
After leaving the bike shop I rode to Lake Street, across the bridge and down East River Road to Summit, all the way along Summit to the Ramsey hill where I hit 32mph with the brakes on frequently, then up Smith Avenue and back to my house. All total: A very fine 26 miles. It was a fun ride with a kool pitstop in the middle.

Route Report:

1. Crosby Park trails have been totally swept clean! Itís awesome! No lakes, ice, sand or stick debree on the trails.

2. Ft. Snelling/Hiawatha trail between the Fort and Hiawatha are totally free of ice. Just on Sunday I think it was, Jim posted a picture of some glaciers across the trail. Itís all gone. I was so happy to ride this route again because itís a fun, beautiful way to go with very few stops.

3. They really have to fix that road coming down from Freewheel Bike to the river road! I canít believe they let it deteriorate this much. They just seem to throw tar in the holes and leave it at that. I thought I needed my mountain bike it was so bumpy. I forget what the road is called, but itís jarring.

4. At the time we rode by, I did not see Jim and Jesus at all.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:26 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

March 27, 2005

Today's ride(s)

Today I did it. I got up in time to ride my bike to work and it was a very nice ride! At work today I hung out and cleaned and watched a little TV while I was sweeping. OLN had an adventure sport on. That was cool! These people were doing 10-day races with kayaks, mountain climbing, orienteering, mountain biking and running. They had wheels on their kayaks and were running with those strapped to a harness on their bodies! Wow. It's amazing what you can live through. I might have to try one of those sometime.
The ride to my sister's house from Burnsville to Hastings was awesome! I rode 23.133 miles at an average speed of 18.9 mph. At one long stretch of downhill I rode about a quarter mile between 30 and 35mph. That was fun! And I only had two 8mph hills to contend with, the rest were 12-16mph hills or relatively flat. So I had a good rhythm going riding above twenty on the flats.
But now I'm tired from eating too much dinner at my sister's house, and the great 43 mile day I had. Tomorrow's a running day and then Tuesday I'm going to ride up Minnehaha/West river road, turning at lake street and going back toward St. Paul on East River road to Summit. I'm looking forward to this route again. It has a familiar look and feel, since I rode it a lot last year. Tuesday will be my first day going that way since last Fall.
I can't even express how good that ride felt today. It was warm enough for short sleeved shirt and cool enough that I could ride harder without overheating.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:44 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

March 24, 2005

The racing bike comes out

Tonight was a beautiful night for a ride. This is only the second time this year that Iíve ridden my racing bike. This time it wasnít quite so wet from snow runoff. But I found out that the trail in Mendota along the cliff under Highway 13 is still covered with glaciers. I ended up riding up Highway 13 itself back home.
Anyway, I rode this bike to work because Dan said he wanted to ride with me after work. And it was fun, but harder than I expected. For a few moments when he got way ahead of me, I felt a little discouraged, like all of the exercise I was doing is not going to be enough for me to do bike racing. But it faded quickly as he got stopped at a red light and I had a chance to catch up.
I rode 20 miles and it felt really good overall! We rode from Downtown St. Paul along Concord Street, found the bike trail entrance at Butler, rode along the river to South Saint Paul, went up the hill by the Library, along Southview Blvd. to Mendota Road to Highway 110. Then we rode along 110 to the Mendota Bridge. Thatís where Dan and I split. He rode across the bridge and continued North along one of the River Roads, and I went North East along Highway 13, back to St. Paul. I bet by the time Dan got home, he hit 40 miles. My ride was only 20 miles total.
By this experience, I can seriously say that Iím in better overall shape than I was last year, but not in the greatest shape for riding yet. I need more mileage I think. This was a good start. The 20 miles did not seem to hurt though. Now tomorrow I plan on riding the Great Schwinn Suburban Touring machine for a nice easy ride. Then at lunchtime Iíll run 5.5 miles. Then Saturday and Sunday Iím going to ride 40 miles on my racing bike from St. Paul to Burnsville and back. That ought to keep me out of trouble. I think Iíll be back up to 100+ miles per week in no time. My peak came last year in August when I had some 200+ weeks. But with running and biking this year, Iím still waiting to see how it will work. I will have to see how much energy all of this will take and how Iím progressing.
In the mean time, I am done with winter and Iíd better go find a backpack cover so my stuff doesnít get wet when it rains.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:24 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

March 13, 2005

Rolling Billboard

Today I picked up my St. Paul Bike Racing Club Jersey. As soon as it warms up outside enough to wear this, I'll be a rolling billboard. As far as I can tell, Sponsorship is one of the main ways some of these types of organizations can do so many things like sponsor races and elite teams and so on. And I suppose it adds to team spirit and motivation to be all dressed in the same jerseys. Just picking it up today made me wish April was over so I could start my Beginner's Racing Program. Spring Fever, haha.
In the mean-time, tomorrow I will go out and run with a new-found enthusiasm after Saturday's confidence builder. Hopefully in a month and a half my lungs will be in much stronger condition.

Posted by carl1236 at 7:58 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

March 12, 2005

Lake Johanna 4 Mile Race Results

Today I surpassed my original goal of 7:30 miles. This is a major accomplishment for me, considering that I just started running about 10 weeks ago and was running 10 minute miles. The first mile I ran today was at 7 minutes. The second mile was at exactly 14 minutes. The third mile was at 21 minutes! I was running 7 minute miles and that was motivating, but then I hit the hill! That almost killed me. But I kept going. It was about 3/4 miles long and slowed me down, mainly because I couldn't get enough oxygen. My legs seemed fine though and I picked upt the pace to run the last mile in 8:04, for a total time of 29:04 for 4 miles. That met my overall goal of under 30 minutes total, with almost a minute to spare! In two weeks I have the Human 8K race at St. Thomas to look forward to. It's a longer distance but almost totally flat. So I'm going to try for 7 minute miles in that race. Now I have to figure out how to train for the next two weeks.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:47 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

March 6, 2005

My first longer ride of the season

Today I rode the 20 miles from St. Paul to Burnsville where I work at the group home, then back again tonight. Those were two very interesting and wonderful experiences. Spring is awesome! I rode over Glacial flows where big sheets of ice were encroaching on the road, through countless rivers of water from the melting ice and found a few hidden potholes that jarred me to the bones. I also remembered why I dislike flat tires. I got one on my way to work this morning and it totally broke my pace. And to make matters worse, I did not have a patch kit in my bag. But thankfully, my intuition kicked in this morning and told me to throw that extra tube in my backpack. It was a last minute thought before I ran out the door. So I wasnít stranded, but it did take me 26 minutes to change my tube and get back on the road. I really need to speed that process up a bit.
Coming home it was dark. I had lights, but I also remembered why I donít like riding long distances in the dark. I could not tell what was ice and what was water, so I slipped in a few places but didnít go down. Also, potholes hide very nicely under those puddles of water! It didnít seem to damage my rim but I sure felt bent out of shape, haha. That hurt! This is the same reason I stopped riding long distances last Fall after the daylight-savings-time switch. I never did invest in a super bright 20-watt headlight but maybe before next Fall Iíll do that. Also, another strange thing about riding at night is that it feels like Iím going faster than I really am. On my way home I only averaged 16mph for the 20 miles, when it felt like I was going about 18-20mph. Haha, maybe that was wishful thinking. But maybe because my sense of sight was limited, I was more tuned into the feel of the bikeís motion.
Now Iím tired and ready for bed, but Iím looking forward to running tomorrow at lunchtime in my new running shoes. I think Iíll be able to tell on that 5.5 mile course if they feel better than my old shoes and if some of the shock is absorbed better.
This was my first ride on my road bike this season, so it felt a lot different than my mountain bike and it didnít feel right the whole ride. I have to adjust a few things for proper fit. For some reason I could not tell it was not set up properly last year when I was riding it, but now I can tell. My handlebars are not high enough and my legs are bending too much, so Iíll have to adjust my seat also. So thatís on my list of things to do this week.
I think overall I felt really good on this ride and did not feel like I had been sitting around all winter, which I wasn't. I felt really strong on the hills. I think that is the running paying off, plus my daily commute up the Ohio Hill probably helps ;-)

Posted by carl1236 at 10:46 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

March 2, 2005

Cycling vs. Running

Nathan asked me to compare cycling with running, including costs, health benefits, potential, etc. Also if I had to give up one, which one would I give up? Iím by far not an expert on either subject, but hereís my experience so far:

On March 16, 2005 Iíll have been cycling for one year. I started out slow, but by June I was riding faster and farther and decided I liked cycling for fitness. I was commuting back and forth to work every day and to get more miles in I found Ďalternateí routes. The first one was seven miles, then I found a good 13 mile route, then I found a 20 mile route, then on some nights going home, I would end up riding about 30 miles. At that point I knew I wasnít just commuting anymore, but it felt really good. Somewhere in August I peaked at about 210 miles per week, then tapered off again after Labor Day, until shortly before Christmas when I rode the bus. Then I decided I didnít like exercising in the house, so I bought a mountain bike the week before Christmas and started riding it to work the following week.
Also at that time I decided I needed to start training for bike racing coming up in the Spring so I made up a schedule that included running, commuting by bike and an upper body workout. Thatís why my earlier blog entries about running were under the category of cycle racing. To start running for me was a monumental hurdle. First of all, Iím 42 years old and I used to be a good runner when I was in my teens and early 20ís. My fastest timed run was a 10:24 two-mile race when I was 19 years old in the Army. I ran a lot then and it was kind of required for my job. All of my friends got into fitness and I loved running in groups. We used to run 10 miles at a 7-minute mile pace, in formation, everyone in step. That was fun. Anyway, we never competed in 5k or 10 runs with the public, but we had to do this 2 mile run, along with as many sit-ups we could do in two minutes, and as many pushups as we could do in two minutes. I maxed out at 72 perfect pushups in two minutes. If our arms did not break the horizontal plane the pushups werenít counted. Ah, but that was then. Iím older and not nearly close to that kind of shape. Along the way, I got out of the military, quit running and working out, and poured all of my free time into the vacuum of my computer career. Ever since quitting running cold turkey, I have not been able to start again. I had some kind of mental block against it and it was excruciating to even try, which I did on a few occasions. I used to love running, but then I couldnít. Mentally I think it had a lot to do with my leaving the military and putting that behind me. I would not be able to go back to that either. But something changed in me since giving all that up.
I realized that I needed to get myself back into shape and have regular exercise for many reasons. First of all, I was sitting behind a computer desk every day at work and every evening at home. I started to fall apart physically. I wasnít very healthy and I wanted to start exercising. So about a year-and-a-half ago, I rode my bike a few times to and from work. That felt good, but then it was Fall and I rode the bus. At that time I was changing my views on commuting and car use and was starting to ride the bus. For me that was liberating in itself, even without the freedom the bicycle offers because I was still free of my car. Then last year as I was used to riding the bus every day to and from work the bus strike happened. I had to figure out how to get to work. I think I drove a couple of times and had to find and pay for parking, and got a few rides, but then I decided to pull out my bike. On March 16th, 2004 everything changed. I started riding my bike, I started my fitness plan and Iíve been riding since then.
Another reason I started exercising is because regular exercise is good for our mental health. It helps fight depression and anxiety and relieves stress. Physically it helps lower cholesterol and decreases our risk of heart attacks. But the mental benefits are reason enough to stay fit. To have a well-balanced life, I believe we need to include adequate, regular exercise in our lives.
To me cycling is just pure fun. When I was a kid we rode our bikes everywhere. I donít know why we are so willing to give up something thatís so fun and so good for us. And combining cycling with commuting to and from work is a natural fit for daily fitness. It saves time and money. You donít even have to buy a club membership for that.
About halfway through the year, I became more serious about my overall fitness and started to feel more like an athlete than a casual rider. I liked that feeling. It reminded me of my younger physically fit days, and I could feel the improvement in my daily life. I could take six flights of stairs without dying. I could walk to work, which I did on several occasions, without dying. I had more energy too!
Iíve written about a lot of these experiences before, like the adventure involved in riding a bike. Adventure is good for the soul too. Finding and discovering the city like Iíve never seen it before is worth the effort! Now here is what Iíve learned in the past year about what it takes to ride a bike all the time: The bike does matter. Although itís not what you might think. Iím not advocating or pushing any high-priced trendy or yuppie bike. Iím also not advocating a one size fits all bike. I found out that it depends on what you want to do with the bike. In my case I wanted to ride faster and farther. It was really hard keeping up with the fast cyclists for 30 miles on my old metal Schwinn bike that weighed 30 plus pounds. That bike was good for short rides and more leisurely rides, but I needed something lighter and faster. I wanted to do that. It wasnít forced on my by high pressured bike salesman. But when I started to look for a faster bike, I did run into the expense wall. The faster lighter bikes all started at around 500 dollars for the cheapest models. Then I went to a bike swap in Minnetonka where I found a 500-dollar, entry-level aluminum-racing bike that had only been ridden a few times, for 300 dollars. That was really more than I could afford, but I bought it and it made a huge difference in my speed. I started to be able to ride 25 miles per hour and hold that pace for a while. That was a major breakthrough for me, and got me thinking about trying bike racing. So I made a plan to try that this year. And thatís where Iím headed. To ride in the winter I bought a mountain bike because of the knobby tires and straight handlebars. I donít regret that switch, because I think thatís much better suited to riding in the snow than my racing bike. I felt much safer and have ridden through a lot of crap I wouldnít have wanted to ride on with my racing bike. And then since I had a mountain bike, and I found a class on making studded snow tires, I decided I would actually try that ice racing! It was really cool! It was a boost to my confidence and I think my racing bike would not have been as good as this bike on the ice. This year, I also have two mountain bike races scheduled so I can experience that.
I know everything Iíve said about cycling so far is why Itís such a good fit for me. Itís not hard to get into and any old bike will do to get started. Itís a cheap hobby and fitness aid as long as you are not into buying all the latest and most expensive gear. Shopping around really helps. You can find deals on the good gear. I didnít know that at the beginning. But I didnít care either until I wanted to push my limits and go faster. Learning to repair your bikes helps. Mainly just flat tires. Itís horrible to get stuck way out somewhere and not be able to fix a flat. It does happen. I think Iíve had about 10 flats this last year. Those skinny tires go faster but they are also more prone to flats, because they are so thin. Buying the right gear and bike for your purpose is something that you can ease into once you decide what that purpose is. But even so, in my experience, my purpose changed and so did my needs. Now Iím getting rid of my two Schwinn bikes and just keeping my racing bike and my mountain bike. Iím getting road tires to put on the mountain bike for grocery shopping and other rugged tasks, like hauling paint from Menards, or hauling my aluminum cans to the recycling center, etc. I also bought a second set of wheels for my studded tires, so Iím going to put the road tires on those rims for the summer and I can quickly and easily swap to my mountain bike tires for my off road adventures. Then in the winter Iíll take off the road tires for that set of rims and throw the studded tires on for ice adventures. That way I can use one bike for multiple purposes. I bought the rims for 10 dollars apiece so itís worth the investment to me. I also had to buy a toolkit for my bike. I hate getting stranded.
Overall the cost is still way cheaper than running my car and paying for parking. Itís good for fitness and itís fun. Now about running. Iím doing it to make my bike racing a better experience and to be able to do a duathlon this Spring and a Triathlon in August. I used to love running when I was younger and now itís still a challenge to me. But itís getting better and more enjoyable the better shape I get into. I used to be a runner, so I know I used to like running a lot. Itís definitely a good workout. The first thing I noticed about running after having cycled for almost a whole year is that it uses different muscles. I was stiff and sore the first few times I ran, and then each time I increased the miles. With cycling I didnít feel that way until I hit 20 or 30 miles at a good pace. To compare, after running 5.5 miles today, I felt about like I did after the first time I rode 30 miles at one time with no breaks. Every muscle in my body felt tired. Running also forces us to breathe much harder, more continuously, than when riding a bicycle. In cycling we can coast some and regain our breath, but in running there is no coasting. The heart has to keep pumping hard enough to maintain the exertion. I do find that my breathing is getting easier when I run slowly, but itís still breathing hard. I think our bodies need more oxygen for running. Well, except in the case of cycle racing. Then I think itís about equal. I felt the same physical sensations when I was doing that ice race as I feel when Iím running my 5.5 mile loop. But racing is a much greater exertion level than normal bike commuting.
Now that Iím running, just using my K-Mart bought running shoes, I realize that I need a better pair of running shoes that provide better cushion, so now Iím shopping around for the right shoe for my needs. Iím looking at 80-90 dollar shoes. When I was younger I invested in a good pair of Brooks running shoes because I got shin splints once with my older, cheaper shoes. The new shoes made a huge difference and actually stopped me from getting that injury again. Shoes are the only major investment a runner needs to make, and I feel itís necessary to prevent injuries. Iím going to have to buy some better shoes eventually. But itís cheaper than buying a new bike and the workout is definitely hard.
Iím not choosing to give up one, as I posted yesterday in the comments section, because I am purposefully doing both. I think itís good to have a more well-rounded fitness plan. Iím not in this for strictly one sport; Iím in it for overall fitness and health. I will also be adding swimming to my fitness plan as soon as it gets warmer outside so I can start swimming in outdoor pools and lakes. I want to prepare to do my first ever triathlon in August. I also donít like to have monthly bills, as much as I can help it, so I donít want to join a health club. Both running and cycling I can do with minimal investment and no monthly fees. Of course it gets more expensive when our purpose changes and we see that we need some more specialized gear for a particular purpose. As a citizen athlete, I am going to enjoy all of these sports. Weíll see where it takes me.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:23 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Attitude"

Category "Cycle Racing"

January 29, 2005

La bella Lingua!

Today was an awesome day! It feels like every cell in my body has been exhausted. Another guy at the race kind of chuckled and told me, ďInteresting choice for a first race.Ē Yes, It was kind of an interesting beginning for me into the world of bike racing. Some people have been doing this for a few years now and I overheard them talking about how they improved their bike or their technique and that they just wanted to finish with a better race time than they had the previous year. For my first try, I just wanted to experience it. And I did. I went full out. Well, as full out as I could have. There were a few points in the race when I just wanted to kick back and ride the rest of it easy. I started telling myself that there is no point in really pushing yourself. Itís just for fun. And for a time I caught my breath and rode behind a guy I was having trouble passing. But he was taking the corners too slow for me, and wanted to pass him. When he went around the corners he was taking up the whole space and swinging his bike from one side to another. When I tried to pass on the inside, he stayed on the inside. So, then on the straightaway he sped up and I had a hard time passing. I did manage to pass him a few times, but then he came back and passed me like it was nothing. On the final lap, he must have had enough because he gave up the chase and I zipped ahead of him. Then I came around the rest of the course in a steady pace and kicked it up in the final stretch to the finish. Overall I did well. I came in 22 out of 43 riders!
This is the competition that I was looking for in cycle racing. Not with the other guy, but with my own mind. When I say things like, ďkick back, relax, itís just for fun, you donít have to do this. Itís not really important. You canít win anyway,Ē then I say back, ďI am here to race.Ē And then I give it 100% of my effort. Where I came out in the standings was not important. That I finished the race and gave it my all is important. When I started the race I was at the very end of the pack. It was a mass start and at first the crowd moved very slowly and it was really a challenge for me to move forward in the group. Because of the narrow, twisty course on the ice passing was very difficult. But I still managed to move up to about the middle as everyone spread out.
When I was out there racing, all time stopped. It was just me trying to stay upright and pedal and breathe and give it more when I thought I had no more to give. Once about the fifth lap I was pushing really hard and was thinking, ďThis has to be almost over. I must have been racing for almost 30 minutes by now! The race is only 30 minutes long, plus a lap. Itís almost over, I can handle it. Keep going hard.Ē But of course I was working so hard I couldnít take the time to look at my watch to time it. So I ended up doing seven laps and came in 22nd place.
It was worth it. It was a good experience.
That leads me to the exhaustion part. After the race I was beat. I went out to lunch with my Korean Language partner and then drove him back to the U of M and then came home, unloaded my bike and other things I brought, did a few errands and then took a good two hour nap on the couch. I think part of what sapped my energy so much was also being out in the cold, fresh air.
Now Iím feeling better! This experience resonates with my soul! Do you know that feeling of trying something new? Of experiencing something totally out of your comfort zone? By going beyond your existing known limits? This is the feeling Iím talking about. This is the openness and questing frame of mind that Leonardo da Vinci had. Curiosita. (How to think like Leonardo da Vinci.) If I wouldnít have wanted to passionately try this how could I ever truly understand it? How could I know what to improve for next years race? How could I understand people who are really into bike racing or people who have made a life-long passion of being an athlete? How could I learn what my own limits and capabilities are? In Italian, the phrase, ďla bella Lingua,Ē means the beautiful language. Saying it with feeling comes from deep down inside, close to the heart. Experiencing life is part of the language of our souls. We feel it, experience it, live it and know it. Experience is la bella lingua!

Posted by carl1236 at 10:13 PM | Attitude | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

January 24, 2005

Running out for dinner

Tonight I literally ran out for dinner. This was a creative workout. I ran 2.8 miles to Burger King, ordered dinner, paid for it, then waited a few minutes and my daughter showed up to give me and dinner a ride back home. My family didn't have to wait for their order and I got to run. This is all part of my workout for cycle racing this Spring. Running is part of my training plan I'm still running, so that's good. Sometimes it's nice to change up our routine to make it more adventurous and interesting. Running out for dinner is much more interesting than just driving out for dinner don't you think? And 2.8 miles is almost the 5k running race I've entered: The 20th annual Securian Frozen 5K, on Saturday, February 5, 2005. I plan on running slightly less than 8 minute miles. That's what I've been working toward for the last couple of weeks.
Oh by the way, if you ever run out for dinner, you may find that you can't wait to get home to start eating it. Running in the fresh air really works up the appetite.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:49 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

Category "motivation"

January 16, 2005

Motivation when discipline is lacking

At times we all lack the discipline to do things we know we should be doing or that weíve told ourselves we have to do. Maybe itís caused by being tired and just needing to relax or maybe we are in too much of a hurry with a busy schedule and we put it off for later. Often later comes and our task is still undone but we find another reason not to do it. Sometimes our lack of motivation is laziness or itís fear of doing whatever it is. Regardless of the cause for our lack of motivation, if we really want to do this, we have to somehow find a way to make ourselves do it.
For me tonight it was exercising. Iím on week two of my new exercise plan for bike racing. Itís tough. Tonight I didnít want to go out running, or exercise. I just spent all day working and all I wanted to do was lie on the couch and vegetate. It wasnít that I was physically tired; I was just emotionally and mentally drained and not motivated to work myself.
First of all, I didnít give in to my desire to do nothing. But I still wasnít motivated to do it. Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, Arctic and Antartic explorer and expedition leader said when asked how he keeps going when his body says no more, ďItís a question of mentally trying to shut your wimpish voice up whenever it surfaces, which was quite a lot of the time.Ē I think the more we dwell on a resistive thought the stronger it gets. I was feeling hungry, so I decided to have a light snack, thinking it might generate a little energy change. But I didnít want to eat too much in case I could get myself to exercise. Itís not fun getting stomach cramps.
Then I decided to change into my exercise clothes. Even if I wasnít going to exercise, I wanted to take that first step and see if that would motivate me. I was still not motivated to actually do it. Then I put my running shoes on and did some stretches. I still was not committed to doing it. But then I put my running coat, hat, gloves, etc. on and I was committed. I went out and started running. I picked a different route tonight so I wouldnít be facing the same routine.
As I was running I was also concentrating on watching my step, because there were a lot of slippery spots on the sidewalks and roads in our neighborhood. I ended up running a big loop back to my house that was twice my normal running distance and I felt much more motivated. When I got in the house I then continued to exercise with the other parts of my exercise plan. I had a great workout and really feel like my muscles got a good workout. At least in this case I could talk myself into being motivated by taking one step at a time in that direction and one thing led to another. By the time my heart and breathing were really going I was motivated to continue. Then I finished the workout, ate a real dinner then took a little nap. After the nap I meditated. It was awesome.
Iíve used this technique with schoolwork also. Sometimes I just begin it without committing to doing it. Once I get started with each step one thing leads to another. For instance, Iíll tell myself that I want to just look over the notes from class. Then since my homework is listed in the notes, I tell myself Iíll just look at the homework to see what kind of questions and examples are in there. Then one thing leads to another and Iím done with it. Sometimes itís easier to find the motivation to finish something weíve started than to muster the strength to begin and do the whole thing. It builds up in our minds as an insurmountable task and a burden. But once we are involved in it, itís kind of hard to argue with ourselves about doing it or not doing it.
See The Motivation List
for other ideas. Feel free to add to my list.
What I did today for motivating myself to exercise partially answers this question: How do we find motivation when we don't have any?
, which gave birth to my motivation list.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:54 PM | Cycle Racing | motivation

Category "Cycle Racing"

January 11, 2005

In-Training

Today I rode my bike to work, but I wasn't really enthused about the
thought of it. It snowed last night and I don't have my studded tires
yet, and I was really tired. Last night after meeting with my Korean
language partner, I still had not done my exercise program (except for
the biking part of it since I rode my bike home from work yesterday.)
Then my son asked me for a ride to a friend's house and by the time I
got home it was 11:00pm. I was ready for bed. But, being just a little
determined, or deranged, I did my exercises anyway. I didn't run as
planned, but I couldn't see myself out running around the neighborhood
at midnight. My upper-body workout was good though. However, because
of this, I got to bed really late. After exercising I was kind of
pumped up and couldn't sleep right a way so 1:00 am rolled around and this morning I was tired. That made my attitude a little less than enthusiastic. I looked outside
at the road and saw that it was all white. We don't get a lot of
traffic on our street so it's hard to judge what the road conditions are like
outside of our neighborhood. It looked like it would be treacherous
without studded tires. Plus, I heard that we were supposed to get more
snow this afternoon. I might have used any excuse to not ride my bike
today.
I looked at the temperature and saw that it was fairly warm and
realized that I was just rationalizing my lack of enthusiasm so I got my
stuff on and rode my bike to work. It was ok. There was only one spot
where it was kind of tough going because there was about 2 inches of
slush, with ruts on the part of the street I had to ride on. But even
without the studded tires, my knobby mountain bike tires worked fine.
It gave me a little more confidence in my equipment and in
winter-biking.
Through this experience I realized two things:
1. I have to exercise right after work, before I eat dinner or I will
run out of time for it. This will require a huge commitment. Or I have
to get up early and exercise, which I'm not really very excited about.
2. When it comes to preparing for cycle racing, attitude can be my
biggest asset or biggest liability. Equipment is secondary. No amount
of the 'right' equipment could have gotten me out that door this
morning. I stopped rationalizing and did it anyway. I made up my mind
that the only way I would really know what it was like is if I actually
went out there and tried it. Besides, in the worst-case
scenario I could always walk to work and push the bike. I knew the
walking would be good for me too and I had enough time. But I found out
that I didn't need to push the bike after all. Attitude, for better or
worse is what makes it happen or not happen.

I know this exercise plan will make me stronger, and a better bike
racer, but it's a huge commitment physically and emotionally. Now I am
seeing and remembering how much time exercise and fitness really takes.
This is one reason why I thought that commuting by bike was such a great
idea last year when I started doing it. If it takes me 30 minutes to
drive in my car and 1 hour by bike, it's like getting an hour's worth of
exercise with only spending 30 minutes outside of my normal commute
time. The closer a person lives to work the less time difference there
is and the more it makes sense. If it takes me 15 minutes to ride the
bus or drive my car to work and it takes me 15 minutes by bike, then I'm
doing exercise in the same amount of time as my commute. It's like
getting 15 minutes of free time every day to exercise.

On Thursday, January 20th there is a class at the Sibley Bike Depot:
Class: building studded snow tires
Description: Build yourself a studded snow tire for your bike.
Studded snow tires can save your life if in winter biking. We will be
using sheet metal screws to convert standard knobby tires to snow
tires.

Class cost is $20 and includes a wheel, tire, and tube, or $10 if you
bring your own wheel.
Date: Thursday, January 20, 2005
Time: 7:00pm-8:30pm
Duration: 90 minutes
Priority: Medium
Access: Public
Category: Sibley Bike Depot
Created by: andrew
Updated: Friday, December 17, 2004 6:25pm
Event Contact Email: info@bikeped.org
Location: Sibley Bike Depot
509 Sibley St.
St. Paul, MN 55101

Jim kindly offered to loan me his studded tires for the Ice Criterium
bike race but I still haven't decided if I want to try riding in that
race. I'll have to see if I have the motivation and courage to try that
as my first-ever bike race. On one hand it would give me a good
planning goal for next year by actually trying it. On the other hand,
I've never raced before and don't know if this would be the best race
for me to begin on.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:59 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

January 8, 2005

Tired

Today I started my upper body workout to train for bike racing. Then I ran again for the 4th time this week. Now I'm tired. tomorrow I'm going for a 40 mile bike ride since it will be nice out. This is one of the critical moments when starting something new. I'm starting to see how hard my commitment really is. This is gong to be a lot of fun, but also my body willl be going through a lot of changes. I'm going to stay on this workout schedule for the next seven weeks: Bike, Run, Upper body workout daily with one day off per week. then I'll try to change it.
Now I'm off to bed. Exhausted. haha. And why am I doing this?

Posted by carl1236 at 11:33 PM | Cycle Racing

Category "Cycle Racing"

December 31, 2004

The self-trained cyclist

I mentioned before that I was going to do cycle racing for the first time in my life. Even though Iím way past the prime for this sport according to most experts, at the age of 42 Iíll be just starting. The first question that might come to mind is ďWhy?Ē

I certainly have no burning need to compete or to win races. That might appear to be a bad sign for me when just getting into racing. But my motivation is different. My motivation for bike racing comes from two areas. One, that I just want to experience something I have not tried before. It will help me understand other people better. Two, that I want to improve my physical health and exercising on my own is ok, but cycle racing will help to motivate me to go higher than I would push myself normally.

I am already encountering a lot of Nay-Sayers, that say Iím so old to be starting this, or that I canít really expect to win, or even Ďwhy are you doing that for godís sake?Ē But with my motives being what they are, I donít fear trying this and I donít fear failure. How can I fail except if I donít try it at all?

Do I want to win races? Yes, if Iím able. But a more important question for me is do I want to make myself able to win races? Yes. My fitness has nothing to do with winning races. I will try to win races and train like I want to win races. Who knows what level of success Iíll have. But I will show up to put my heart into it.

That leads me to the training part. This is where it gets tough. Because, talk is easy, but doing is much harder. No one goes into a bike race with no preparation. I know I have to make a commitment to this. I have to make some tough choices about my eating habits and my lifestyle. I am even questioning myself whether itís worth the commitment necessary to race bikes. It will be worth it. I know it will.

My first step is to find out how to prepare myself. So, I hired a coach. His name is John. Iím going to make a plan and follow the plan. Actually I know there will be many coaches along the way, since many people will be offering me advice and help. Iíll take it. And for my education and support, I bought a book that looks like it will be good for what Iím trying to do. Itís called the Cyclistís Training Bible, Third Edition, by Joe Friel. You can read about it at http://www.TrainingBible.com

It will be a good experience. Iím looking forward to trying something new and to the improvement of my physical health. I am also looking foreword to the new friends I will meet along the way. I am looking forward to the insight and other benefits I will not see until Iím directly involved in it.

Here are two quotes from the book, The Cyclistís Training Bible:

ďIím a 42-year old in a 20-year old body.Ē Ė Kent Bostick, Olympian at age 42 and again at age 46.

ďThe essence of a good training program is managing time.Ē Ė Connie Carpenter, 1984 Olympic gold medallist, road racing.

Posted by carl1236 at 3:44 AM | Cycle Racing