Category Archives: Training

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice!

9/4: MS Training Ride #3

It’s been one hell of a week, but was finally ready to jump back on the bike.  Haven’t ridden since the last training ride, and I was looking forward to today’s 50 miler. The temperature was 50° at 7:30 this morning, and I ain’t ashamed to admit my fingers were tingling from the cold as we set out.  But, I felt good, and was ready to put down a solid pace, and rolled out with the front-runners.

8 miles in, and *pop* my rear tire goes flat.  So, I pull off the road, and start fixing.  Tire comes off, pull the tube out, check for anything stuck in the tire (otherwise it may pop the second tube), load the new tube into the tire, and the tire back on the wheel.  My brother Willie gave me a CO2 pump for my birthday, so filling the tire was a breeze.  For those that don’t know – the CO2 pump is a small pump about the length of a fist, that you can put a small cartridge of compressed CO2, which rapidly inflates the tire to near standard inflation.  Takes only seconds. So, everything looks good, and I get back on the road.

Not half a mile down the street, *pop*!  I couldn’t @#$%ing believe it.  I pulled off, and this time turns out the inner-tube must have just been defective, because it split lengthwise along a seem.  At this point, I’m livid.  By the time I get this one replaced (I’m now down to no extra tubes) I’m the last rider out of perhaps 70.  Worse, I don’t really know where I’m going, and the yellow markers on the road aren’t always easy to see.  Funny thing, lats night I was considering lightening my load – removing some of the extra CO2 cartridges, maybe only carrying one spare, etc.  Thankfully, I decided that since I’m already used to the weight, doesn’t make much sense to go without… just in case.

After that was fixed, I started to haul.  Got to the first rest stop, waited a couple of minutes to rest my legs, and took off again.  Some pretty nasty hills on this ride, but handled them just fine (one had a lot of people walking up, so I felt good about that one).  Since I was essentially riding on my own today – given the large gaps in riders this far back, and since most of the riders this far back don’t set as fast of a pace as I do – I just kept pushing myself harder. I’d catch site of a group, and I’d keep pushing until I caught them.  I know it’s not a race, but I had to keep my mind on something and off the two back-to-back flats.

Google Map

At the second rest stop (about 30 miles in), I refilled the Camelbak, grabbed a couple of fig newtons, and kept rolling – maybe stood there for 5 minutes, tops.  By the time I finished the ride, I caught up to perhaps half the riders that were out today, so I felt pretty good, even though I was exhausted.

My father’s flying in from LAX today, so not sure if I’ll do tomorrow morning’s ride.  But if I do, you can bet your ass I’ll be bringing all my usual gear. 🙂

Total Distance: 49.3 mi
Moving Time: 2:56:51
Average Moving Speed: 16.7 mi/h
Max Speed: 28.7 mi/h
Min Elevation: 630 ft
Max Elevation: 935 ft
Elevation Gain: 1812 ft

8/28: MS Training Ride #2

Gorgeous weather for riding!  Was barely 70 when we rolled out at 7:30AM.  The plan was to do about 40 miles, though my track says we only did about 38.5.  My bike said the same, so maybe we took a shortcut somewhere. 😉  At any rate, at first I started out with Tom and his friend Steve, keeping a nice, leisurely pace.  A gap opened up, and I ended up ahead of the group, tailing a larger and much faster group.  When I caught up with them (about 30 riders) their air pocket sucked me right in, and before I knew it we were flying at 22mph and I was barely doing a thing.

As the ride went on, I worked my way up the pack, eventually to the front where I could pull a little more, before we hit the rest stop.  I rested for about 10 minutes, waiting for Tom to arrive, since I heard he had some gearing problems.  Took off again with another group, setting down yet another killer pace.

Google Map

When the ride was done, I wolfed down a couple of hot dogs that the ride sponsor volunteers had cooked, packed up, and drove over to the Tulsa Zoo to meet up with my family and my friend Michael who’s visiting from New York.  Walking around a large zoo for a couple of hours after a 39 mile ride isn’t exactly what I’d call relaxing, but we still had a good time.

More miles on the tires, and four more weeks to go.

Total Distance: 38.5 mi
Moving Time: 2:11:47
Average Moving Speed: 17.5 mi/h
Max Speed: 33.4 mi/h
Min Elevation: 628 ft
Max Elevation: 887 ft
Elevation Gain: 1360 ft

8/26: Solo and Team Superior Ride

Team Superior has a Thursday ride along the Arkansas river, and I thought I’d join them this week for at least one leg of it.  Tom called and said he was going to take off from his house and just head west based on how he felt, but I left earlier, trying to meet up with the team.  The team starting point: 21 miles away.  So I already put in a good ride before I reached them.  Fortunately, I arrived early and was able to rest a bit before the team started.  I thought they’d be headed south along the ride (back the way I cam) but no, they headed north, so the ride was even longer than I thought it’d be.  The also came back down the west bank, which has a massive hill – thank god for very low gears.

Google Map

Ran into Tom just after breaking off from the team ride to head home, so we rode together the rest of the way, which is good because he sets a solid pace and it kept me from slacking on the ride home.

Total Distance: 45.8 mi
Moving Time: 2:54:59
Average Speed: 12.8 mi/h
Average Moving Speed: 15.7 mi/h
Max Speed: 33.0 mi/h
Min Elevation: 620 ft
Max Elevation: 773 ft
Elevation Gain: 1480 ft

8/23: Team Superior Liberty Trail Ride

Another ride with Team Superior – weather was a bit on the brutal side to start, heat index of 105° and sunny.  But as the sun went down, the temperature dropped quickly and the ride would’ve been more enjoyable at that point – had I not already been exhausted. 🙂

Kept a really fast pace (about 17.1 mi/h for the first 15 miles).   Had a bit of knee pain around the MCL, but seems to have faded off.   Next ride is Thursday, most likely.  Also received another donation, and I’m now at 70% of my goal!  Thanks for all those who’ve donated to this cause!

Total Distance: 30.0 mi
Total Time: 2:07:07
Moving Time: 1:48:42
Average Moving Speed: 16.5 mi/h
Max Speed: 28.1 mi/h
Min Elevation: 612 ft
Max Elevation: 826 ft
Elevation Gain: 1023 ft
Max Grade: 15 %
Min Grade: -12 %

Biking Zen – Finding the Middle Path

Zen Temple, Kamakura

Siddhattha Gotama – also known as the Buddha – described the middle path as the moderation between extremes.  Aristotle referred to this as the “golden mean”, the desirable middle between excess and deficiency.  For example, too much courage can lead to recklessness, too little to cowardice.  Finding balance in all things – be it work, play, food, sport, love, etc. – can lead to a very happy and healthy life (of course, I’m ignoring the über-rich folks for whom “balance” refers to splitting their travel time between limos, private jets and their Aston Martins).

When riding, there are many aspects where the middle path will serve you well. The more I focus on centering my state of mind as well as my body, the easier and more enjoyable I’ve found these long endurance rides to be.  Below are a some of the areas where applying the concept of the middle path has worked well. Continue reading Biking Zen – Finding the Middle Path

8/21: MS Training Ride #1

This was my first training ride.  Good weather for it, not hot at all, not very humid (for once), and a decent breeze.  Tom picked me up at 6:40AM and we drove to the River West Festival area for the ride start.  When we got there, we met up with about 10-15 other Team Superior members, and about 10 minutes later, we were off.

Rest stop at Lake Sahoma; riders in black/green jerseys are Team Superior members.

When you ride in a large group, there’s certain dynamics that you don’t experience riding by yourself.  One of those is the envelope of air that comes when 30-odd people are bunched together moving at 20mph.  It feels like you barely need to pedal!  Though etiquette says you should adjust your cadence to match the pace-line.  It’s also a little unnerving not being able to see much of the road ahead of you.  Most of what you see is a wall of jerseys and spandex.  On a bike path it’s not too bad, but on the road, you never know crack might be there to ruin your ride.

Another thing I’ll have to get comfortable with is putting my trust in other riders.  When you’re drafting or in a large pace line, you’re pretty close to the bike(s) in front of you, and the bikes behind you are right there on your tail.  You have to keep a steady line – not weaving left or right – so that you don’t throw off the rider behind you, and my hands were twitchy wanting to be ready in case I had to slow down for the bike ahead of me.  Of course, if you start to slow down, the bike behind you might end up being the bike on top of you. :p  So it’s an interesting balance.

Had a rest stop about 15 miles in to the ride, sponsored by the Cox Cable team, at a place called Lake Sahoma.  Very pretty down there.  The second half of the ride contained some pretty good-sized hills, and I found myself using lower gears I haven’t used in some time.  All told, the ride felt pretty good.  Can’t wait to get out there again.

Click to See Map

Total Distance: 35.3 mi
Total Time: 2:35:29
Moving Time: 2:07:20
Average Moving Speed: 16.6 mi/h
Max Speed: 31.6 mi/h
Min Elevation: 587 ft
Max Elevation: 951 ft
Elevation Gain: 1374 ft
Max Grade: 9 %
Min Grade: -7 %

8/18: Solo-Ride

Total Distance: 26.5 mi
Total Time: 1:48:16
Moving Time: 1:37:29
Average Moving Speed: 16.3 mi/h
Max Speed: 29.8 mi/h
Min Elevation: 630 ft
Max Elevation: 747 ft
Elevation Gain: 915 ft
Max Grade: 5 %
Min Grade: -5 %