Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Night riding.

Did my first night ride on the refurbished Raleigh Peak last night. Headed out about 9pm and rode for two hours. Managed to squeeze in 35 miles. Ride was very easy with no wind or blazing sun to contend with, just the ever watchful eyes of Jupiter and a beautiful crescent Moon. Need to do more of these. In fact, I will be doing my first organized night ride with the gang from Century Cycles this coming Friday (8/28/09). Promises to be fun.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

MS150 Pedal to the Point: Day 1

Well, just wrapped up my 14th MS150 Pedal to the Point bike tour this past weekend and wanted to share with you what a typical day is like on the tour, in log format:


4:30am: Alarm goes off and I immediately ask "Why?" However, once the mental fog lifts, I realize it's tour day and I gotta get my ass out of bed and get ready to ride. But it's 4:30 in the morning! And it's Saturday! No one gets up at 4:30 in the morning on a Saturday. And although I puzzle over the shear illogic of this act EVERY year, I still manage to find the motivation to grab the bike and go!

6:00am: Arrived at Polaris, our start point location in Berea, and find my team, Patti's Paladins, hanging by the front doors of the building. The parking lots are already filled and bikes are everywhere. Mind you, the Sun had not even broken the horizon yet and 2,200 riders are aimlessly wandering about, ready to get this show on the road.

7:00am: Team pictures are done and the water bottles are filled. I quickly kiss the girlfriend goodbye and join my fellow riders MJ and Don, who I ride with every year, at the start line.

7:15am: We're off!!!

9:20am: The three of us arrive at Oberlin High School, 30+ miles from the start line. This is the lunch stop, and if there is one thing EVERY rider looks forward to at lunch, it's Ho Ho's. Yep, those delectable chocolate cake logs that grace our bellies but once a year. We quickly throw back our lunch, but I'm not ready to jump back on the bike just yet as I find it necessary to make my annual "pit-stop"...and I ain't talkin' Number 1. Unfortunately, this is a high school, and since teens still find it necessary to smoke while at school, the stalls in the bathroom have been, how shall I say, re-designed. No doors and the stall walls are three feet high MAYBE. In this open and vulnerable state, it's best to just put your head down, push hard, and get out as quickly as possible. I follow all these rules..except for the part about getting out quickly...BUT, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

10:30am: Newly refreshed, and feeling 10 pounds lighter, I hop back on my bike and scramble away, hoping to catch up with my fellow team mates, who know better than to wait around!

11:30am: 20 miles later, I finally catch up with my team mates at one of the rest stops, much to their surprise. They figured they had lost me for the day, but it's amazing how fast you can ride after a little potty time! At the rest stop, I noticed my team mates have picked up another rider in my absence. His name is Justin and this is his first tour! We decide to take Justin under our wing to make sure he crosses the finish line in style! After a brief break and a refill of the water bottles, we head out upon the last 25 miles. By now, the Sun is high in the sky and temps are in the mid to upper 80's.

1:30pm: After 75+ miles, we finally arrive, as a group, at Sandusky High School, four abreast, crossing the finish line as a unit. First time THAT'S ever been done. We head into the gym, unload our gear, set up our sleeping arrangements, clean up, and head to the pasta dinner provided for us by the high school. (This is actually our "dinner", as "lunch" was at 9:30 in the morning. If you get hungry later in the day, you are on your own!)

4:00pm: After a short nap, we hook up with another rider friend, Woody, who we only seem to see once a year and only at this tour. We quickly catch up, then the four of us (Don, MJ, Woody, and myself) head out to Cedar Point to hopefully catch a few coasters!

9:00pm: The day is coming to a close and we are starting to feel the effects of being up before the Sun and on the go working our asses off. As we drag ourselves back towards the bus that will take us from Cedar Point back to Sandusky High School, we realized that we only managed one coaster, the Maverick (after a two hour wait in line), and dinner at the park. Not much, but hey, the tickets were free.

10:30pm: Lights out in the gym, but we are fast asleep long before they finish dimming away. Tomorrow, we get up and do it all over again!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pedal to the Point only hours away...

Well, tomorrow morning at 7am starts this year's annual MS150 Pedal to the Point bike tour, a 150 mile bike ride between Berea, Ohio and Sandusky, Ohio over the course of two days. (And to think I COULD have been sailing Lake Erie as a crewman aboard the US Brig Niagara for three weeks instead...but I digress.)

This year, I am going to try the 25 mile extension on Day 1 of the tour, making Saturday's total 100 miles (instead of the usual 75). Sunday is still 75 miles. To be honest, I'm not sure why they don't have a 25 mile extension on Day 2, that way they could have a special "200 Mile Club" or something. Perhaps I will suggest it.

Regardless, it's the best weekend of the year and all for a great cause. Check back here soon for post-tour comments and photos!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Training Ride

With one week to go till the big MS150 Pedal to the Point Bike Tour, this was the last weekend to get some serious riding done. So, threw down a nice 60 mile ride on the Defy. Unfortunately, Summer decided to make a guest appearance for the first time this year and dropped a pretty oppressive heat bomb on us...93 degrees with a heat index over 100! Thank God the brutal headwinds helped to keep me somewhat cool. Again, good ride nonetheless!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The "52 Work-Out"

Well, I decided to try the 'deck of cards' workout today. Here's how I broke down the card/exercise routine:

VALUE CARDS (value on card indicates number of sets)
* Hearts = tricep dips (10 reps/set)
* Diamonds = curls (10 reps/set)
* Clubs = push-ups (10 reps/set)
* Spades = dumbbell throws (10 reps/set)

* Black Face Cards = sit-ups (100/card)
* Red Face Cards = hall sprints (length of hall, 6 flts of stairs down, return length of hall, 6 flts of stairs up/card)

Well, after only 14 cards, I had already done 130 dips, 100 sit-ups, 110 curls, 2 sets of hall sprints, 150 dumbbell throws, and 120 push-ups...and I STILL had 38 cards to go!!! No way. Thus came the end of the work-out. Now, although this work-out was a daunting task, I still loved the method...it just needed a little tweaking. So, two options: either break up the deck to about 13 cards a day, or dramatically reduce the number of reps per set. I like the 13 cards/day option. Of course, I could 'play the game' a bit differently and just do the same exercises as listed above, but only do one set, with the reps per set based on the value of the cards (face cards staying the same as before), but I will reserve that method for "speed work-outs".

The 'deck of cards' work-out is killer and I recommend that you give it a shot, too. Create your own exercises and set them up to the cards as you see fit. Every day will be a new work-out, guaranteed!! In fact, for more info on this unique fitness method, check out http://www.rosstraining.com/articles/deckofcards.html.

Tomorrow, it's back on the bike!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Alternate training for complete fitness

Although cycling is my primary passion and outlet for fitness, I'm not above trying new and inventive ways to maintain TOTAL fitness. Two of my favorite sources for excellent physical training tips and techniques ARE...my brother Jim and his best buddy Phil. Each has their own fitness blog: Jim's is http://trainingroutines.blogspot.com/, and Phil's is http://phils-fitness-journal.blogspot.com/, and I recommend checking both as each has some unique exercises. I guarantee you will walk away sore!

One technique I found brutally clever was working out to a deck of cards!! How does that work, you ask? Well, let's say we break down the deck accordingly:

* BLACK cards represent push-ups
* RED cards represent sit-ups
* FACE CARDS represent 5 minute sprints
(Obviously, you can substitute any exercise in these slots.)

Now, shuffle the deck and throw a card out on the floor. It's the 4 of Diamonds. That means you would do 4 sets of sit-ups at whatever rep count you picked for sets. Once those 4 sets are complete, throw out the next card. An 8 of Clubs. That means 8 sets of push-ups at the designated rep count. (Yeah, that one's gonna hurt.) When finished, throw out the next card... and so on, till you complete the deck. Sounds awesome, right?

Go one, you know you wanna try it! Seriously, it's diverse ideas like this that can bring a unique challenge, and maybe just a bit of fun, back to your work-out.

Tops in the Biz

If you are in the market for a new bike, check out Century Cycles in Medina, Ohio (http://centurycycles.com/). Great selection and an awesome staff make this shop the pick of the litter.

I bought my 2009 Giant Defy Alliance back in April and the CC gang did not disappoint. In fact, I was so impressed with their service and cycle knowledge that I recently dropped off my 18+ year old Raleigh Peak for a complete overhaul. I was actually going to 'decommission' this bike as it was on it's last leg, but the old girl was good to me and I felt she deserved another crack at life. Thus far, she's had a new cassette installed, new crankset, chain, brakes, cables, and a thorough scrubdown. I hear she is cleaning up nicely and I plan to pick her up August 10th. Looking forward to seeing my 'friend' up and riding like new!

Also, check out the Century Cycles website for some great evening Towpath rides. As soon as the Peak is back in action, I plan to break her in on one of those night time rides!

Training Ride 8/3/09

Great ride today. Cranked out 50 miles through the Metroparks. Did it all on one water bottle in rediculous headwinds without any rest stops. Wanted to go 75 non-stop, but the legs weren't quite ready for it. Two weeks till "Pedal to the Point".