23 May 2009

100 Miles of Nowhere

6 Body
of Day
9:00 AM Distance 100.18 miles Power  
2:54 Time
2:48:29 Time
34.54 mph Speed
35.67 mph Speed
43.33 mph
At least a couple of feet based on everyone else with a GPS. I know, I know, not sure how that is possible unless we're all so not smooth on the rollers that the bouncing accounts for this. Max
Breakfast 6:30 AM - cereal
Lunch 3 beers, veggie bratwurst, bun, pasta salad, Tabouli salad, beets, garbanzo beans, nuts
Dinner pizza
Workout Food 2 large bottles each with 2 scoops HEED, Fig Newtons, 1 beer at 50 miles
Workout Type Rollers, what else would you ride on a gorgeous day…?
Weather upper 60s to low 70s, dry, sunny, light breeze
Results I finished, 'nuff said.
Equipment Road Bike
Clothing bib shorts

"OMG, did I really sign up for this…?!" is what I'm thinking as I wake up. A good friend Tom W talked me into doing 100 Miles of Nowhere today and I think I'm having buyer's remorse before we even get started.

We (Chance R, Aaron L, Brent C and I) all arrived at Tom's place a bit before 9 and proceeded to lug all our crap up to what seemed like the 9th floor of his house. Yes, he has a deck outside of the kitchen but no, we had to go to the roof deck. Truth be told, the view from up here is pretty freaking incredible and on a day like today you could see Mt Rainier, the Olympics, all the drunks on Alki Beach, you name it.

We filled out bottles, applied liberal amounts of chamois cream, positioned our rollers and trainers, turned on the music and started riding. To nowhere.

The banter was super lively as we made our way to the first 10 miles. People were cracking jokes, teasing each other and doing all the usual guy stuff that seems to spontaneously occur when a bunch of dudes do things in the absence of members of the opposite sex. Good times basically.

Then I rode off of rollers. Shit. I almost flipped over the chair I was using to start myself but brushed it off and tried to act all casual. Not. Within 10 more miles I bailed in the other direction and almost took out Tom. Thank goodness he was next to a solid railing and was able to fend me off.

The bonus of having someone with such mad skillz along is that it gives everyone in the group lots to talk about… Consider it my contribution guys. That's right, all totally intentional.

Around 40 miles in I had been off the bike four times, twice intentionally, just to give my crotch a break. At 50 miles I had to have a beer. Damn, it really hit the spot. The only problem was it made me pine for the finish and it was a tiny mental challenge to get back on and ramp it up after the break.

By the time we had covered 70 miles I had ridden off my rollers two more times (crushing my supply of Fig Newtons in the process) and the lively, sarcastic banter had almost totally died out.

Tom had said that the last 20 miles would be rough because all we would  be able to think about was the finish. I got that way with 25 to go. With 10 to go I climbed off one more time, did some stretches, had a long drink and then got back on for the final push home.

Brent, Chance and Tom kept asking each other how far they had ridden. I was keeping my towel over my cyclometer on purpose and trying hard not to check the odometer too often. With about 10 miles to go that strategy stopped working and I ended up checking almost every mile. With five to go I had to wind it down for a bit and pedal really slowly for a few seconds to give my knees a break; the tendons behind my right one were starting to feel kind of tight. I thought that would do it but with two to go I had to slow down one more time. But then it was over.

I quit at exactly 100 miles. The extra tenth was just me coasting to a stop. :) YES. It was such a relief to not need to climb back on. I grabbed a beer from the cooler and hit a chair.

I had taken off my jersey within the first 10 miles as it was a warm day and I wanted to get some sun. As usual, the first few times Martin 'get's some sun' he overdoes it in dramatic fashion. I checked out my back and it looked pretty red and you know that if it looks red right after you get out of the sun, it's going to be flaming in a few hours. :( So I just made sure to turn 180 degrees and keep the sun on my chest. :)
ASIDE - salt stain city! Man, I am not usually the guy that has big, white, crusty lines on his helmet strap or shorts but after this ride I had BIG salt crystals on my back, thighs and shins. Impressive stuff.

After dividing all the swag, toweling off a bit and moving the bikes and trainers downstairs, Tom fired up the grill and cooked up some brats. Then Brent's girlfriend came by with some pasta salad and Shelley and Kari showed up with more food and beer. Nice.

I finally made it home and took the progressively colder and colder shower followed by the full body dip in aloe gel.

Good times. Will I do this again? Don't ask me for a while.

Here are some pictures.

15 May 2009

Ellsworth Witness tandem

And so it begins.

A few days ago under the affects of new bike euphoria I Tweeted, "Can I get a (Ellsworth) witness?!" Sheesh, talk about starting things off with a cliché. :(

But screw that, a few days ago Shelley and I received the bulk of the stuff needed to build our first full-suspension mountain bike tandem and it rocks. It ROCKS. You hear me?

First I gotta thank the 'sponsors'.

Ellsworth - this company is one of most outstanding mountain bike companies in the world. All their shiz is still made right here in America (not just assembled here or designed here) and lucky for me they launched their own recovery plan whereby new bikes were discounted $700 if you sent them any(!) old complete bike or frame. Ellsworth gets the tax write off, needy people get a working used bike and Shelley and I get a brand spanking new ride. Martin is no dummy, I jumped at the offer.

WebCyclery (and Henry Able) - this company is actually a brick and mortar retailer in OR but they happen to have a big web presence and phenomenal customer service. Oh yeah, the happen to be tandem experts. It helps that Henry is a tandem-crazy person himself (he has a road, full-suspension and single speed tandem at least…) and the guy is passionate about riding them. Way passionate. Henry answered all of my questions patiently and even though I did not get ALL of the parts through WebCyclery they were never anything but fantastic. I did a 15 year stint in the bicycle industry and this is why IBDs succeed.

This morning I finally broke down the boxes, put the frame in my repair stand and sorted through all the parts to see if anything was not going to work or was missing. Here are those pictures. Turns out the 350 mm Ritchey Pro seatpost I ordered for myself will not be long enough. Luckily though Ritchey makes a Comp in a 400 mm length so that's now on the way. Even though I triple and quadruple checked the advertised dimensions against my single and tandem bikes, there is nothing like dropping 5 large on a bike that you have never seen in person to make you sweat… I was not absolutely positive it would fit us until it showed and thank GOODNESS it will be fine. Shelley will actually need a 350 mm post and the stoker top tube is plenty roomy. And with the 400 mm post in front and one of my 15 cm stems it will be fine for me. One word: relief. One more: Anticipation. One more: I'm calling in sick as soon as it's ready! Oops, that's more than one but you get the idea.

I was able to recycle some parts from an old tandem (the captain's cranks) and from my single (headset, shifters, derailleurs, saddle and pedals) and had a some tires and tubes and a saddle and pedals lying around for Shelley but everything else is new.

Speaking of new, I love the fork I got for this bike. LOVE it. It's the 2009 Fox Talas. OMG, this is one sweet way to hang a wheel on a frame.

ASIDE - I had to sell two tandems to afford this one! I sold the beautiful, custom Ti Cycles steel bike with the daVinci Designs drivetrain that Cameron and I used to ride in the Courage Classic to a good friend and I will need to sell our Rodriguez mountain bike tandem as well. I'm okay with this. :)

What's next? I need to build the wheels and then assemble the bike. I'm still waiting for two parts to arrive, one of which is that longer seatpost, but my goal is to be in the dirt one week from Saturday. Yes!

01 May 2009

six weeks in

What a bust…!

To fill you in, some time ago I embarked on a diet to see if I could improve my climbing a bit (I'm talking about cycling here) and today is a little over six weeks from the time I began.

Did it work? Well… it might have helped a little but it also reduced the fun factor in my life quite a bit. Like I said in my original post, there is nothing like trying to eliminate something from your life to make you want it liken ever before. When it comes to food that is. In my case I cut out alcohol and 'extraneous' sugar meaning deserts and the like.

And of course as luck would have it (not), as soon as I decided to do this we were invited out for drinks several times and went to a free dinner with unlimited wine, etc., etc. Sigh.

The whole point was to try and lose a few pounds for this hilly race I did last Sunday. When I started I lost four or five pounds right away and then leveled off. After a few weeks I gained back a couple of pounds because I think I started eating larger portions to compensate for not having the stuff I was craving. Then I leveled off again so the net result was I only lost about three pounds.

That's not a big amount of gain (read: weight loss) for a comparatively large amount of anguish and conscious self-control. What did Martin learn? Totally cutting out something is not that hard but the benefit and reward is also not so great. Portion control on the other hand is obviously the key to more significant gains (or loses in this case) and MUCH harder to enforce.

Major revelation, eh? I know, I know… it just takes me longer than most to figure these things out. :(

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