Thursday, December 20, 2007

This week...

Finally I got back on the bike this week...although it wasn't much.

I rode the bike in on Tuesday hoping to make it out to Hains Point for lunch, but work didn't allow it. So I rode 5 miles after work with a trip up Capitol Hill. At this point, I'm counting that as "training".

Yesterday, the weather man told me it was going to be 50 wasn't. I brought the bike in anyway and thought what the heck, I'll go out at lunch with all my gear on and do a couple of laps until I get dropped by those who actually ride their bicycle as opposed to look at it in their dining room. The ride was good. I had an 11:00 am meeting that almost resulted in my throttling of a lady (not normally my style, but it was almost warranted).

I showed up to the point a little late, with some derailleur problems, a full head of steam, and pent up work induced aggression. The pace was slow, and as always, there was somebody screaming about "'s only December 19th, what are you doing!?!" when the pace started creeping above 18 mph. Seriously, the C rides and the lazy Sunday coffee shop rides are for taking it easy...45 minutes of lunch time at Hains Point is for one thing and one thing only...having your @ss handed to you by those who are in better shape than you are. If you want to putz around at 18mph, do so, but don't insist on everyone else doing it as well...

Anyway, the minute he said that I went to the front and pushed the pace above 24 to try to get something started. A small group of about 6 or 7 formed and we pacelined in the wind for about 40 minutes (they might have gone longer, but lack of fitness had the better of me and decided when I was supposed to go back to work).

Lessons learned from yesterday:

1) Riding in the wind sucks.
2) If you're working with a group and trying to keep it away/alive, you gotta take your turn at the front...even if it is just for a second. The mental break of having a wheel to hide behind after a hard pull is just enough to get you ready to get back up to the front and keep the pace on. Leaving someone out there to break wind (the other kind) is ruthless. I know there are times when strategy says you should do it, but during training or when you're really trying to keep a break away, take your out (I was at fault a couple of times).
3) When pulling through to the front, don't attack the guy/gal who just made the effort (unless you really want to break him/her) so as to force them to chase the group once everyone pulls through. The effort they make to get back on usually makes them useless the next time their pull comes time.
4) Did I mention riding in the wind sucks?

Anyway, we're off to Michigan for the holidays...they just got 10 inches of snow, so no bike on this trip. One of my New Year's resolution is going to be to ride my bicycle more. January 3rd is the beginning of le amateur domestiques' true training...


Friday, December 14, 2007


I didn't ride my bike this whole week. Not once. I had that good ride on Sunday and haven't done squat since. I suck.

Somehow in the past three weeks I've lost any prioritization I used to have. I used to believe that I HAD to spend at least a 30 minutes every day working out and if lucky enough, an hour at least three times a week down at Hains Point during lunch. Those days somehow have gone out the window, and now I find myself spending my lunch hour in my cube trying not to send my computer monitor into the neighboring suite via drywall and mortar.

To all you young guys out there trying to balance cycling and work...don't let work take over. I know we have to pay the bills, but once you lose sight of all the benefits that time spent away from the monitor and keyboard provide...bad things happen. I've found myself moody, angry, short tempered, and generally down (aren't those all the same things?).

Riding the bike is fun. Not only fun, but what ever chemical it releases into my body is the necessary element to keep my sanity in check.

I actually took out my frustration on the treadmill at work. Not a bad workout. Did 3 miles in under 20 minutes. I felt like I had to apologize to the machine afterwards though. Maybe I should ride the bike angry too...might have better results. :)

Anyway, we're in Boston now, with snow all over the no bike riding for me this weekend. Next week.

..."but you said that last week Jesse?"...


Monday, December 10, 2007

Like clockwork...

Weight: 190ish
Mood: Poor
Fitness: "Give me a wheel to hide behind..."

It happens every year. December rolls around and any late year fitness disappears. It happened last year, the year before that, and it's happening this year. I ride less and less until Christmas and then I take two weeks off to gorge on food and beer. The smart money is on me being around 205 with legs of lead come January 1. d@mmit!

So I rode three times this week. 30 pathetic minutes on the trainer on Wednesday, 30ish SLOWWWW miles on Saturday morning on my own (did a modified Bethesda shop ride route from Capitol hill), and logged about 56 miles including the Bicycle Place 8:30 ride on Sunday.

Sunday's ride was actually legit and actually made me feel a little better about my fitness. I rode up to Silver Spring (about 10 miles) and met up with the small group that showed up due to the rain (where were you RAYMAN!!!???). Cliff showed, so I had someone to ride with...the group rolled out with talk about "this is going to be a C ride.." and "'s cold, wet, and December so we're going slow...".

This always bugs me. Just because you're training plan says to keep the heart rate below 100 beats and not break a sweat, don't hijack the group ride. Also, what does "'s only December" mean?? I don't get it. Does it mean, "I plan to suck in April, but I'll be awesome come August." Or does it mean, "I plan to race every weekend between March and November, and I don't want to burn out too early" ?? Just in case I drop that line, if I say it it means, "I had too many bud lights last night so please slow down before I throw up all over you." Next time someone says that, I'm attacking the group...although, I won't be attacking sh!t in December or January if I keep following my current training plan.

Anyway, back to Sunday's ride. Little Bax showed up and sped up ahead of everyone going up Mass ave. Cliff, myself and some other dudes chased a while until it split up heading onto MacArthur. By the time we got to the parkway, it was just Cliff and I together chasing Bax who was up the road. I pulled through after Cliff made an effort chasing and kept the pressure on as we closed the gap to Bax (who was probably just cruising along...kid is strong). As we got closer, I look over my shoulder for Cliff and noticed that he had dropped back. I was pretty close to Bax so I kept on pushing to grab his wheel. Once on, we traded pulls, with him doing about 60 to 70% more of the effort for the duration of the parkway and kept it around 24 to 27 mph depending on the incline. It felt good, but I could tell that the lack of riding really was taking a toll on the legs. I felt stiff and without a lot spring. Once we came off the parkway and headed up Mountain Gate, Bax dropped me like a bad habit....which was bad, because I got lost trying to find my way back to Democracy. I think the combination of lack of air, freezing fingers, and blurry sight didn't help....not to mention that I had my @ss handed to me (word on the street is he's pretty good though...)

Anyway, lessons learned:

1) Somehow I need to train the body to be able to go from constant pressure on the flats to explosive uphill efforts. I've had problems with this for years and have always chalked it up to lack of fitness...maybe it is, but maybe more hill repeats might do the trick.

2) Cliff has a really REALLY pretty bike. I want one of them frames bad.

3) The bicycle place ride in bad weather is okay, but I need to remind myself that it's not all fireworks up there all the time. Summer and Spring in Silver Spring is great since everyone shows up, but when it's cold and dreary in the winter, I might as well stay back home and do the shop ride from CHB...which I should have done.

4) Riding in the cold rain sucks. I love riding my bike, but around mile 40 to 50 I was asking myself why I do this and is it worth it...I'm looking forward to the projected 50+ degree days coming this week.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Lazy and Jealous

So I rode one day this past week. Yea, I know...I'm awesome.

I went out on Saturday morning and put in 49 easy miles out the WO&D to Vienna and back. I actually bumped into a standing Racing Union & WWVC ride that starts at the caboose out in Vienna around 9am. A good group of guys that let me tag a long for a couple of miles. It got me thinking about all the group rides in our area. I usually stick to the big 7am Saturday, 8:30 BP Sunday, and 9:00 am Sunday CHB Shop ride, but every once in a while it might be nice to go out and see some of the other rides that go on weekly that I don't know about. Riding out through Vienna, Great Falls, and McLean was a nice change of pace, and really got me excited about being on a bicycle on a decent day (even though my toes were freezing). I've been thinking in the back of my mind that I'd like to organize a big group ride to do the Mt. Weather loop...not just the team guys (although they'd better show), but open it to everybody. Riding with the WWVC and Union boys reminded me that even though we all wear different kits, really we just like to ride our bikes...and it's more fun to ride with other folks of like mind.

Anyway, back to training. I've been reading Bryan's blog lately and all I can say is h0ly sh!t!!! That guy is going to be a monster come race season. He was already one of the strongest guys in the 4's last year and someone to constantly keep an eye on, but he is going to tear up the 3's if he keeps this up. That I am jealous about. The kind of miles he's putting in of wet dream material. Plus he's doing it day in and day out. Share the secret please!

So goals for this week even though the weather is going to be crap:

1) Ride the bike at least 4 times (indoors or out)
2) Try to make it down to the treadmill at least 2 or three times this week
3) Don't daydream about new frames
4) Convince self not to buy tickets to the Orange Bowl...