My Progress

Sunday, April 29, 2012

04.28.2012 Muenster Metric Century
I finally got the chance to ride the Muenster Metric Century yesterday.  This had been on my to do list since I first heard about it back when I was riding in 2004.  Since I've gotten back into riding this was high on my list of rides to hit this year.  I am glad that I did it, it was a really great ride over a challenging course.

According to the pre ride announcements there were over 2000 riders for the various routes.  Lots of normal upright bikes and a good representation of recumbents.  Saw a pair of Carbent Ravens, a couple of Catbike Mushashi's, Carolynn on her P38 Lightning, John on his Bacchetta CA2.0, Texpug on her Catrike, and after the ride I saw Roy's Morciglio Apache, there were several others who I didn't catch names on so don't feel left out.

Given that many cyclists all starting together down a narrow rural farm to market road was "entertaining".  I saw one crash occur about 20 minutes into the ride, I think someone bumped wheels from the looks of it.  I was stuck in traffic and didn't have an option to stop and help, (I still feel bad about that, I hope the cyclist was OK).

With the ride starting into a stiff headwind the 2000+ herd broke apart fairly quickly into separate groups.  I had fun bridging groups and launching out into the wind by myself and putting my lower wind profile to use.  Several riders on uprights caught on pretty quick and sat on my wheel for what little draft I offered.  I was more than happy to pull as I was having fun chasing after the next group, catching them, sitting in the back to recover a bit and launch after the next group.

I hit SAG #1 for a quick bathroom break and a chance to ice down my water bottles, I tried a bottle full of Powerade as that was what they had, (lesson learned, stick to Gatoraid).  After SAG #1 the short route turned back toward their finish so the traffic dropped off quite a bit.  I continued bridging groups from one to another, sitting in and chatting with each new group I came up on.  I rolled through SAG #2 and kept on going.

I was sitting in talking to a guy on a Catrike Speed when I noticed a jersey with the Marine Corp emblem go by.  As I was also wearing my Marine Corps jersey I had to catch up to him.  Come to find out he was in the reserves based out of Fort Worth.  He was up with a couple of other Marines for the ride.  We hit SAG #3 where his buddies caught up and we had a full Marine Corp fire team ready to go!

After SAG #3 the 65 kilometer route split out for their finish and I continued up the road.  During the pre ride announcements grooved pavement had been mentioned.  It wasn't just grooved, it was cratered.  That was some of the roughest, nastiest bits of road I've been on in a while.  And of course that section, in the middle of a steep uphill, had to be when the flat fairy came for a visit.  A quick tube change, check the tire for something sharp, re-install, and then courtesy of the nasty rough road, break out the allen wrenches and start tightening down loose bits.

Once the bike was ready it was more hills, up and down into Saint Jo, Texas.  Another  Sag stop, more pickles to fight off leg cramps, more ice water and down the road I went.  I'd been hearing reports of a really nice downhill north of Saint Jo.  The reports didn't lie, I hit 49.7 mph down the hill.  Check out the video link by clicking on FREE FALL.

The last part of the ride was south back into the wind with more hills, one really brutal one where you paid for the ride down Free Fall.  Grinding my way up it with my heart rate maxing out and my forward speed barely being enough to keep me upright and on the bike I was praying for a large semi.  I figured if he hit me hard enough it would stop the pain and misery.  But once I got to the top, convinced my heart rate to climb down out of the 180's, tried to ignore more leg cramps, the speed picked back up and I started rolling down the road.  Again, being on a recumbent really paid off as the south wind was really putting the hurt on the people on the upright bikes.

I rolled back into Muenster, looked at my odometer, 60.67 miles, considered turning around and rounding it up to 62 miles, said no to that idea and headed for the van.

Several lessons learned from this ride.

  • Hunt down the flat fairy and shoot the bugger in the head
  • Check, recheck, and loctite appropriate bits on your bike as needed
  • Bragging about how fast you can go on a downhill and then cramping up while sprinting down the hill is no fun.
  • Dill pickles are your friend when you are cramping
  • Going 49.7 mph on a recumbent is an adrenaline rush
  • One application of sunscreen was not enough, give me a war bonnet, a bow, a pony and I could open my own casino!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

What a difference a year makes!

It's not been an a whole year for the diet and exercise plan but I was able to dredge up a picture of me from a year ago...



Yep, I really was that bad.

Monday, April 2, 2012

03.31.12 The first brevet is done!

Ok, so for y'all out there who don't speak French and are wondering what a brevet is, it's just a different type of bike ride.  Generally it's characterized by longer distances usually 200 kilometers, (or 125 miles) or more, and sometimes a lot more!  You have a time limit to complete the ride and you have to check in at control points along the way to verify you completed the course.

When Vicky first started talking of joining the Lone Star Randonneurs and riding brevets and such, it sounded like a really fun group of people and a fun new type of ride.  I'd no idea at the time just what I was getting myself into.

Imagine a group of people whose idea of a really good time is 20+ hours on a bicycle saddle for 250 or more miles, and I thought I was crazy, I'd not seen crazy till Saturday.  I'd also not met a much nicer group of people either.  Here I was, well out of my pay grade getting together to start a ride with folks who were riding 350-400 miles or more a week.  There was a huge amount of experience and information regarding long distance riding contained in that group.  And what was great for me, they were more than willing to share that information and help me out.

The group at the start...

The ride was the Fleas and Trees brevet out of Canton Texas.  The ride is named for the Third Monday Trade Days flea market held in Canton and the huge number of trees along the route.  About 6-7 of us chose to do the 200 kilometer route with the rest opting for the 400 kilometer ride and a trip to Louisiana.  

One the road to Gilmer.


A really nice shade tree to pump up a tire under!


The route itself was fantastic, it was classic east Texas with wonderful springtime weather.  Myself and another rider did hear a rumble or two of thunder but no rain developed for us fortunately.  I discovered that east Texas is not at all like around were my family and I live.  East Texas has hills!  Some of them even are pretty nice sized hills at that.  I remember looking up at an upcoming climb at one point and thinking how much that was going to hurt going up.  As I was starting down  a rather large hill I decided if I was going to hurt climbing up the next hill, I may as well enjoy the trip down.  Time to jam onto my big ring and see just how fast I can make my bike go, (I managed to break 41 mph, I guess next time I need a bigger hill as I want to break my best on a bike of 55 mph).

As this ride was a couple of firsts for me it was a huge learning experience.  This was not only my first brevet I'd ever tried, but it proved to be the longest ride I'd ever done.  It was also the second century ride I'd done since getting back on the bike and into shape.

The lessons and take aways from this ride:

·         Meeting and making new friends on the road.  This was a huge plus for me and a huge thank you to Michele for talking me through the ride,  and to the guys from Trinity Bicycles for finding what was causing my flat tire issues.  You all were great!

·         When there is a flat tire, take the time to hunt down the root cause of the problem and fix it right the first time.  Having flat tire issues from mile 25 to mile 109 was a bit of a problem. 

The I hate my tire face..


·         Don't let issues take you off your nutrition / hydration plan.  I let my flat tire issue get me off the nutrition  and hydration plan and paid for it on the return trip to Mineola.  I ate at the turn around in Gilmer, (mile 62) and didn't eat again till Mineola, (mile 99).  As a diabetic, that is a recipe for failure.  Although after looking at it and doing the math I now realize I averaged about 300 calories per hour, it just wasn't spaced out like I had intended it to be.  Hydration was the other big issue.  I'd refilled my bottles and Camelbak at the turn around in Gilmer.  About five miles out from Mineola I ran dry.  As it gets warmer, I'm going to need to carry more water in areas where towns are widely spaced apart.

·         Speaking as a type II diabetic, yes you can do endurance type events on a diet of mini Clif bars, Clif Shot Roks, Lance wheat and cheese crackers, Fig Netwons, natural peanut butter, Oreo Cakesters, (I know, but they looked tasty!) and Gatoraid.  Oh and the big bag of M&M's at the finish was a bonus!

·         I have to pack my seat bag better and come up with a system that when I need item "X", I can reach in and put my hand on item "X".

·         You don't have to be a hammerhead on every ride!  Sit back, enjoy the company, scenery, and the ride.  And don't forget to take more pictures!

·         The last big take away from this ride...  Make sure you don't accidently hit the stop button on your Garmin bike computer when changing flats.  As much as you wished it would have, it didn't record any data from mile 25 to mile 63.

Of course the next question is what's next?  Proving to myself I can go 125 miles now has me looking once more toward hitting that goal I set all the way back in October of 1988 of a double century, 200 miles all in a day.  That goal had better watch out, this fat old diabetic is sneaking up on it!