Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Around two years ago, a few of us were riding in the outstanding Arcadia area, about 35 miles north of the home base here in Roanoke, VA. At the base of a colossal eight mile climb we were greeted by the friendliest golden retriever you've ever seen. His name was Baden. As we pulled away from his house we assumed that he would turn around a few hundred yards up the fire road climb and go home. He didn't. He stayed with us all day. We eventually had to call his owners to come rescue him. They did, and we parted ways - Baden back to his home and us on the remainder of our epic MTB ride.
This past Saturday, Adam, Pookie and I decided to do the same route that was taken a couple years back when we met Baden. We rolled through the first few miles of forest road to the base of the giant climb and sure enough, Baden came bouncing down to meet us at the end of his driveway. I called him by name and his "I'm protecting my turf" bark turned into "Hey, I remember you!" tail-wagging. It was really cool. As the three of us stood there talking to him, he kept taking a few steps toward the climb as if to say "let's roll dudes". I would have loved to have had him along for the ride, but I remember how trashed he was after the last ordeal.
After chasing him around for a few minutes after he stole Pookie's Team El Toreo vest, we decided that I'd ride up the driveway to his house to deposit him to his owners. We didn't want him to get lost if he decided to venture home on his own, or chase a deer or other wild creature.
I could tell our old friend was disappointed that he didn't get to follow us this time. I'm sure I would be too if I didn't get to ride in awesome Arcadia!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
I've done more core work than ever before. I even almost have a six pack. My legs have more strength and muscular endurance. Even my back feels stronger.
What has changed the most however are my arms. I didn't think much of it until Pookie exclaimed "holy crap" during one of our recent workouts. (Holy crap in a good way. Like a"Holy crap you have some guns, sweetie" kinda good way.)I'm a bit worried about dragging this extra muscle weight up and over the mountains when race season starts though.
Which brings me to today's million dollar question: Does a strong upper body make you a faster single speeder?
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Bibs and a long sleeved Craft baselayer...
Thursday, January 15, 2009
15 degrees and 25mph wind sucks more.
This week's Thursday night ride looked different than it ever has before. Pookie, Laura & I decided to do a time trial. Up go the trainers and in pops the CTS training DVD.
I have to admit, Chris Carmichael is one boring dude to listen to for an hour. Even though the workout varied in intensity, his monotone-ness almost put me to sleep.
Fortunately, the sound of our trainers whirring during the three 5 minute intervals drown out the sound of his voice. If I'm going to have someone yell at me to dig deeper during a workout, I'd like them to at least pretend to be intense.
Oh well. We got through it and I have to say that for January, my fitness is better than I expected. I have a monumental task ahead of me this season and have set lofty goals for myself. On nights like this when real riding isn't an option I find myself making up ways to get a workout in, where in the past I would have just said "It's too cold" and watched TV.
It's also better when you have other cyclists suffering on their trainer next to you. The three of us had our own little spin class. It was nice to do something different. It was nice to be inside on a night like this. And above all, it was nice when we were finished and could turn Chris Carmichael off.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Anyway, the point to all this is that they are entertaining. Gray decided to climb our tree to better survey his domain. He hung out there for 15 or 20 minutes, then he went back to his normal yard patrol.
It's like Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom around here sometimes.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
This is Gunnar. I would love to be 3/4 as fast as Gunnar. And to top it off, he is in no way, shape or form an arrogant ass. But, he has always been, and still is, wicked fast.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
So when I saw this piece of bike jewelry, I knew I had to have one! I'm off to Amazon to do some shopping!!!
Monday, January 05, 2009
Makes me wish I'd held on to more of the stuff I had growing up as a kid. Like my Hutch BMX bike. I had a chance some years ago to buy an early 80's Kuwahara like this one, but passed it up. I wasn't into "little bikes" anymore. Moron.
Have you seen how much vintage BMX bikes are bringing on ebay? I'm kicking myself right now as you read this...and I'm never getting rid of anything again. Ever.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
I've changed things up a few time, not knowing what I was doing really, just to add some variety through the winter months. I've tried running, both on the treadmill and on the trails, with bad results. Alot of other cyclists I know run in the off-season and reap rewards for it. For whatever reason, I don't run well. I'm not slow, in fact I can move along pretty well. But, I HATE running. It doesn't feel right to me. My feet hurt, my toes hurt, my shins hurt, my hips hurt. It all hurts.
So basically here's the deal: I was really not looking forward to November and December because I wasn't excited about going to the gym, and I wasn't going to force myself into doing something I hated.
So, one night in October I wake up on the couch and see this infomercial. (Don't laugh) It looks different from the other fitness-related pitches I've seen before. Having been an athlete in one form or another for most of my life, I can tell if the gadget/program/gimmick that they are selling will actually work or not in a basic sense. (I really don't think you can use a little plastic seat that you spin from side to side on to get totally ripped in 30 days).
Yep this was different. It was called P90X. What was so different? It looked hard. Really hard. And the folks they interviewed who had achieved results kept saying that it was hard. You don't hear that in any of these infomercials.
"Lose 100 pounds in 2 days just by reading this book!"
"Become a millionaire tomorrow by doing nothing!"
"Climb Mount Everest from the comfort of your own home!"
Do nothing = get nothing. Some people fall for the promises of great results with no effort, but I know better.
So when I saw P90X and how difficult it was, I started doing a little on-line research and found that most folks who actually do what's in the program get results. I also liked that I heard the word "variety" alot. So, I went to Earth's General Store (uh, ebay) and found a complete set of 13 DVDs and ordered it up.
Pookie and I decided to try the Plyometrics DVD first. My God! It was hard. And some of the workouts are impossible until you do them a few times. (The 16 minute Ab-Ripper X is not humanly possible, but I love it!)
So, we started doing the various P90X workouts about 4-5 days a week in place of going to the gym or running. I've fallen in love with the plyometrics workout.
While the P90X DVDs include plyometrics, I've also found many books on the subject, and a few plyo-specific DVDs as well. If you've played any explosive-movement sports (football, basketball, hockey), I'm sure you're already familiar with these exercises - also referred to as "jump training". I can tell you with 100% certainty now that I've been back on the bike a few times that plyo has a direct effect on cycling. Some of the other workouts are beneficial too, but I definitely recommend getting some sort of plyo in your off-season or early-season routine.
Friday, January 02, 2009
Aaron and Hillary's pug Sculley stole my camera and snapped a few shots before I could wrestle it out of his paws.
Aaron Van Halen