Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2 steps forward 1 step back

Not much cycling news to report since last week since the weather continues to be the worst in recent memory.  Sweetie and I ran the Race for the Cure on Saturday and then Sunday was spent prepping the garden and planting 3 tomatoe plants.  Was hoping to get more done in the garden but Mother Nature had other plans.  By the time the third plant was in the ground I was working in a steady drizzle of cold rain.  Enough fun for one day - the rest of the plants will have to wait.

I can relate!
Was able to ride 3 days last week including Tuesday's hammer fest in Delaware and Wednesday's WBC Hoover ride with the "A" group.  Thursday was an easier recovery ride for me and since then the bike has sat in the basement waiting for dry weather to return  Whatever gains in fitness were realized last week have probably slipped away over the last 6 rainy days.  The rain is forecast to continue for the next 2 days.

Colorado and BTC are less than a month away.  I'm hoping for some serious saddle time between now and then.  

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Review of the Past Week

Well, the past week has been a busy one for me.  The job, family, housework and a few other activities took priority over the blog.  Fortunately the past week also included a few nice rides and an opportunity to tune up my karma.

Tom's Trillium Tour TTT):  Last Saturday I rode the TTT which began in Nelsonville and wandered through some beautiful sections of the Hocking Hills into Athens and then along the bike trail back to the start at Hocking College.  Started off with Ted, Greg, Rich and Steve but turned off as they pressed on to complete the 100 mile loop.  I ended up with around 70 miles and couldn't have enjoyed the ride more!  The roads were great, the route very well marked and the scenery was outstanding.  The Athens Bicycle Club puts on this ride and I plan to add it to my "must do" list in the future.

WBC Road Cleanup:  On Sunday Sweetie and I joined up with about 6-7 other Westerville Bike Club members for a road clean-up along the club's "adopt a highway" section of road north of Westerville.  My understanding is that our section of road is much easier to clean-up now compared to the first outing when more debris was laying along the side of the road.  But we still found a mother load of beer bottles, wine bottles and cigarette butts and wrappers.  There were even a few articles of undergarments collected for good measure.  Speculation over the possibility that all these items were related to one another in some way was a topic of discussion throughout the day.

Amy Rees & John Clectner with the fruits of their labor during the WBC road clean-up.

Thursday New Albany Ride:  the weather cleared nicely on Thursday and my work schedule allowed me to make it to the COP New Albany ride.  After sizing up the A riders and taking stock of how I felt, I decided to ride with the B's.  Things started off a bit easy but the paced picked up nicely as we hit the rollers.  Our original group of 30 plus eventually whittled down to around a dozen or so riders by the time we rolled to the finish in New Albany.  Among the strongest riders in our group were 3 impressive young ladies who really helped push the pace throughout the night.

Tonight is the eve of the 50th anniversary TOSRV.  This afternoon I went downtown to pick-up my packet and ran into lots of my cycling friends and the weather forecast for the weekend was among every one's primary topic of conversation.  Right now the forecast looks pretty positive with a chance of rain late in the day on Saturday and cloudy skies on Sunday.  Hopefully the forecast holds true and a fun time should be had by all.      

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tuesday night in Delaware - FINALLY!!!

Well, I finally made it to the Tuesday Delaware ride -actually almost didn't make it.  Around 4:15 I called Jax, who lives in the Delaware area, to see if he was riding since the forecast was looking bleak.  "Storms coming!" he replied, "planning to ride inside on the trainer".  Looking at the dark skies and strong winds outside my office I was seriously thinking of bagging the ride myself.  However, the weather forecast for the next several days looked terrible so I decided to take a chance and drive to D-town and see what would shake out.

On the outskirts of Delaware light drops of rain fell on my windshield and I again considered passing on the ride but pressed on to the parking lot behind Beehive Books.  I pulled into the parking lot and no one was there, so for a 3rd time I seriously considered skipping out on the ride.  I made a pass through the parking lot and planned to leave if I saw no riders when suddenly who should appear on his bike but Gus.  Right after that I saw Dave Chambers drive in and decided we would have a ride after all.  With 15 minutes left until ride time I changed into my gear in the car (always to be done with caution in a public parking lot) and quickly readied my bike.

Rolling up to Beehive to quickly fill my water bottles I saw 5 other riders including Andys, Mark Ames and Ben.  Butch also walked to the start from Breakaway to give us some words of encouragement before we started.  Four of the other AWOP  Riders were sporting their new kits which looked mighty nice.  I left my new kit at home because I didn't want the expected rainy weather to trash it on the first ride.  As it turned out the weather and the roads stayed dry. 

After a few greetings in the parking lot we rolled out.  Heading north toward Prospect we were cruising along at 29-31 mph because of the strong tailwinds so I knew the ride south would be brutal.  When the group turned to the west we had our first taste of headwind and our group of 6 was whittled down to 3 including Andys, Dave and me.  I could tell I was the weak link in this smaller group but worked as hard as I could to do my share of pulling as the route headed south into the strongest portion of head wind.

The 3 of us rode well together and I was close to being red lined most of the time we were headed south.  I felt pretty good sheltered behind Andys or Dave but the head wind was a crusher as I came through for my pull.  Ride time was approximately 2 hours and the average was around 20.5.  This was a good gauge to tell me how more fitness I need to find before things get really crazy when we have larger groups in the upcoming weeks.  I can't wait!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Soggy Saturday

The original plan for this past Saturday was to do Tom's Trillium Ride in Athens but all the recent rain caused several roads in the Nelsonville / Athens area to be closed due to high water.  Fortunately my friend Rick came to the rescue and planned a nice ride from Sunbury out to Utica and back.  Plenty of climbing was promised so that our group would not feel too bad about missing all the hills and scenery of Southeastern Ohio.  Word is that the Trillium ride is re-scheduled for next weekend.

We had a nice group of 12 riders for the 10:00 start time and we rolled out under cloudy skies with optimisism that we would stay dry for our ride.  From Sunbury we headed out to Johnstown and then on to Utica where we climbed Reynolds Hill before making a quick snack stop in town.  Rick put together a nice loop with more hills that brought us back into Utica again for lunch at Subway before we started the final run out to Weaver Road and back toward Johnstown.

Rick, our ride leader, powering up Reynolds Hill

The group strung out as we fought some head winds approaching Johnstown.  Rolling into the outskirts of town the skies became darker and thunder could be heard in the distance.  Light rain began to fall and we stopped under a school entry and contemplated our next move.  After a short break we pressed on for the last 20 miles or so as we closed in on Sunbury.  Less than 10 minutes from Johnstown the skies opened up and we were all quickly soaked to the bone.  The rain continued to fall until we completed the ride with just over 91 miles. 

Sweetie looking strong!

Despite the soaking we had fun.  Hoping to ride in Athens this Saturday and the current weather forecast predicts warm temps and clear skies.            

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hello Reality!

With the hip continuing to feel better each week I decided to head out to New Albany last night for the weekly COP ride.  Thought I should try and make up for lost time and get some speed in my legs.  By the time the ride began there was a pretty large crowd in attendance and I was trying to decide between the "A" & "B" groups.  When I first arrived Todd was there and he was planning to go with the A's and asked me if I wanted to head out with him for a short warm up ride.  Warm up ride?  I typically don't do a warm up before a weeknight group ride but I'm glad I did tonight.  This should have been my first hint of what was to come.

After sizing up the impressive looking group I reluctantly hopped in with the A's and we headed out into a fairly stiff cross wind.  I was toward the back of the pack and almost off the side of the road as I searched for some protection from the wind.  Riders were dropped along way and I felt better than expected, hanging pretty well until we reached the hills outside of Granville.  I crested the first big climb with the lead group but my tank ran out of gas as the group began to accelerate.  A few stragglers who had fallen off during the climb worked to jump back on but my body had enough.  The lead group backed off a bit after that first hill so I should have dug deep to get back on and try to catch a quick recovery.  As it turned out I was stuck in no man's land maintaining my distance from the group but unable to close the gap.  After a few miles riding alone I regrouped with Todd who had gotten caught up in some car traffic when we made the earlier turn toward Granville (the A's wait for no-one) and the two of us pressed on at a recovery pace.

Less than 10 miles from the finish the lead group of B riders (I think Mark Wilson has referred to them as the "B+ group") came up to us and one guy yelled for us to jump on.  With our legs rested we hopped onto the group and pressed on toward New Albany.  The pace was brisk and smooth and our group worked well together for the rest of the ride.

Although my legs had a reality check and I recognize how much fitness I lost with my hip ordeal, I felt good overall and had a great time riding with some really strong cyclists.  In retrospect I may have been better served to ride with the B's but I think the extra push to ride hard was good for me.  I'm hooked on the New Albany ride and plan to be there and each week my work schedule permits.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Windy Sunday

The hip is starting to feel better but the weather last weekend and early this past week did not cooperate in giving me more time to get out and ride.  Wednesday and Thursday were pretty fair days and I was able to join in on a few group rides.

Decided I would ride MOC on Sunday and almost bagged the ride when I woke up that morning to strong winds and gray, cloudy skies.  Realizing I am severely behind in miles I decided to tough it up and ride the 67 mile route.  After reaching Cardington the route headed south back toward Delaware for the last 25 miles +/-.  Most of the return route was into strong, gusty headwinds that made it tough to control the bike and hold our line.  A tough day in the saddle but was really glad I got out on the bike.

This week's weather looks iffy but I hope to make a few week night rides and possibly a century ride in Athens on Saturday.  Also looking forward to a nice 3-day weekend for the Easter Holiday. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wednesday night with the WBC

Haven't posted lately for a variety of reasons including craziness at work and generally crappy overall weather conditions and an injury that have prevented me from getting outside on the bike.  Fortunately the weather broke last night and I joined in my first Wednesday night WBC Hoover ride of the season.  I rode with 3 other folks (Indiana Joe, Mike P & Sweetie) and we had a really great ride.  Nice and tight formation with a revolving pace line as we worked against the blustery winds that seemed to be in our faces in almost every direction we rode except when we headed east at the start. 

I stayed off the bike the last few weeks due to a nagging hip pain that troubled me after my last few rides.  Last night was a fairly easy pace and I did not experience pain after we were through.  I'm going to continue keeping an easy pace for the next few weeks and if the pain continues to stay away I'll begin cranking it up.  I once received a fortune cookie after eating Chinese and it said "Caution now is better than tears later".  I guess that sums up my cycling season right now. 

The weekend promises warm temps so I looking forward to getting out and enjoying Spring now that it finally seems to have arrived.