A Recovery Bike Ride on a Great Day!


Looking Like an Idiot before the Ride
Looking Like an Idiot before the Ride

First up, I got my Bike Back on Tuesday!!! Woot woot. I took it in on Monday to get it serviced(have about 500 miles on it now 🙂 ). They gave it a good once over and made sure everything was still tight and in the right position. We went ahead and lowered my bars a couple of spacers, as I had noticed I had been riding more and more in the drops. It was just very comfortable. So we dropped the bars and we shall see how that feels over the next few rides. “It’s gettin Aero in here!”. Haha.

I also picked up some new shorts. I think I’ll do some reviews on the other pieces of gear I have over the next week or so- so we can get a baseline of how the gear is performing thus far.

Yesterday was an easy ride kind of day. After a long weekend of riding, and then several runs at the beginning of the week, my legs felt tired and more than a little sore.

My buddy came to drag me as usual(he is way too fast for me to over take him if he doesn’t want me to lol). He kept the pace fairly slow and sedate- compared to what he can do. Compared to what I can do, I still spiked my heart rate a few times(over 165) keeping the pace. I mostly kept my HR low, as my average for the ride was 152.

This was a nice 25 mile ride through a few highway type roads and sub-urban areas. It was great to just spin and let the stress in my legs out. I noticed a few times where my legs really felt sore. However, after the ride, they felt great. Really couldn’t believe how good they felt the rest of the evening.

I only drank water and an electrolyte drink throughout the ride, since it was so short. I had dinner pretty much waiting when I got home.

The bike performed great. No missed gears or jumping up or down gears. Very smooth and solid with no issues or worries. The dropped bars also felt very comfortable. I didn’t feel like I was leaning too much on my hands(while on the hoods) and I still felt comfortable down in the drops. I originally was very afraid of leaning too far forward and being uncomfortable, but now that I’ve gotten some more miles on me, I really like that position. I feel like it makes it easier to keep my back straight and my hips rotated correctly. Keeping good contact on the saddle and my legs feel great. We will see how this goes and adjust from there. I don’t see myself getting too much lower, but I am glad to know that I am still comfortable with a little change.

I figure I’ll start doing my own maintenance for the next service, and maybe take the bike in once a year to have it eyeballed by a professional. I do my own motorcycle maintenance, how hard can a bicycle be?

In the end it was a great day. Sun was out for most of it. The wind was out too, which made for some difficult sections, but nothing that couldn’t be conquered and ridden through!

Afterwards I felt energetic and ready to take on the World! Haha.

You can see the workout by Clicking Here.

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The Longest Ride…. So far!


Yesterday was a beautiful day, down here in the Houston Area!

I was able to get together was a local Triathlon Group- I’ve ridden with them several times and I really put a lot of my improvement to their credit.

I knew this was going to be a 40+ mile ride. So I prepared by ensuring great nutrition on my rest day(Friday) and the morning of the ride.

I got all of my gear set up the night before. Made sure all of my Gels and Gu’s were in my trusty day trip backpack(it was a cool little birthday gift from Backwoods last year- My wife and I use them all the time haha). Went through and did full mechanical checks on everything( more about this in a little bit). I also got my kit ready, however it had apparently not been washed since my Thursday ride.So I tossed it in the washer Friday night, just before bed. I figured I would try something new, since I was going to be getting up so early, and put it in the dryer on “fluff”. Well this turned out to be a bad idea. Cause at 6:00 A.M. I was pulling on wet and cold kit and hating life for a few minutes. In the end, I was mostly dry before heading out the door and I was dry before the ride started, so no biggie.

With a Roll Time of 7:00 A.M. from my Buddy’s house, I got up at 5:50. Immediately went and started a small coffee and some oatmeal.  Got dressed( with a few curses and and shivers) and got my tires pumped(15 minute drive to the meet up so figured why not air em up in the comfort of my warm home and wet kit?) and then settled down a bit to eat my oatmeal and drink my coffee.

While I was eating, I also got in a few stretches to help warm me up a bit(some injuries have to be babied everyday- and if you treat them right, they never bug you…. mostly).

I took off around 6:35 AM and got to my Buddy’s house right at 7. It was a bit chilly so I opted to wear arm and leg warmers and put a light running jacket on as well. I also had my thermal skull cap. I just used finger-less gloves, as I never “feel” like my hands get that cold as long as I have some blood pumping(and if that stops I have other worries).

I situated my gear with opened gels/gu’s in my right jersey pocket, an extra heed mix packet in my center pocket, and more gels and gu’s in my left pocket, along with my knife 🙂 I open them and have them positioned so I don’t need to fumble around trying to get a gel out while riding. It has worked so far!

I had my water in one bottle and mixed Prepetuem into the other. I had the Heed packet, just in case I finished the Perpetuem and felt I needed more electrolytes.

For my Nutrition Cycle during the ride, I am continuing to use the 10(ten) minute timer method. So after the first ten minutes, I pop a Gel and 2 squirts of water. Second 10(ten) minutes I take 2 squirts of whatever I have mixed(if I am only carrying water I skip the gel on the second cycle). Then I just rinse and repeat this. So basically every 20 minutes I am getting a bit of calories, protein, carb’s, and electrolytes. So far this is working well for me- as we will talk about in a minute. haha.

So we take off from my Buddy’s house and get to the park that the group is meeting up at and we wait as more peeps arrive. On our way we actually pick up another one of the riders in the group. It kind of worked out like you would see in a movie- as the group moves along another one just drops right into place- it was pretty funny and cool too.

Once everyone arrived, we were 9 riders deep. Nice little crowd!

At around 7:45 we head out! The first 15 miles of the route we took I have done before. We stopped at another local park at the 13 mile marker and took a break. This was in a park. This part of the route would not be repeated, as it is a ride in, turn around and ride out portion of it. We all stretched our legs and made sure everything was riding okay. At this point, I took off my light jacket and rolled it up and put it in my center jersey pocket. It is a running jacket, so it packs pretty small, but not as small or convenient as a cycling jacket. There may be one of those will be in my future :).

Everything else was feeling and working fine. I was feeling great. The pace was low enough I was having a good conversation with a couple of the other riders. We took off again after a few minutes and continued our journey.

Just before the 15 mile mark, one of the riders peeled off and turned around- that is what he had planned on doing as he didn’t have the time to do the full ride that day.

So now we are down to 8 :). As the morning progressed, the sun came out and the temperature warmed just enough to be nice and toasty when we stopped, but the air felt great while we were moving.

Since it was such a beautiful day, we saw several other individual riders and groups of riders, getting their own miles in for the day. Good Times!

The roads were busy at times, but we were very visible, as we made sure to keep closely together for the first half of the ride. We also managed to hit every single red light possible. I am pretty sure we hit a couple that weren’t even there(least that is what it felt like haha).

 

At about the 28 mile mark, we had another rider turn around. Again this was planned and we were prepared to lose another one, haha. We made our turn around stop point at the Starbucks on the Kemah Boardwalk. This was about 30 miles in (per my Garmin- I had an extra 2 miles on the rest of the group since I had left from my Buddy’s house). We did quick checks and had a little cup of coffee. A few head breaks and some water bottle refilling and we were good to go. We did chill for a bit and sat and talked. The day was so nice, we couldn’t wait to get back on the road.

We finished up our rest stop, put our gear back together and got out of there!

The ride back was a bit more difficult, as we had a headwind most of the way. What had come from a 18-19 mph ride turned into a 16-17 mph ride fast. We ended up separating into two groups, one at the 17+ mph range(I kept up!!) and one at the 13-14 mph range. The front group did stop often to let the slower group catch up, that way we were never separated by more than a few minutes.

We made it to the 39 mile mark and took our next break! I was still feeling good. This is now 2 miles further than my longest ride! Although I could feel fatigue starting to set in. I was making sure to stick to my nutrition plan, even if it felt like extra effort to drink or eat. This worked pretty good all the way until I couldn’t keep pace with the faster riders. I was already back to a portion of the route I have done before, so I was comfortable riding on. I ended up not making a right turn though. And looped through a neighborhood- which was cool cause it added more miles to the tally!

At this point I was noticing that My chain didn’t like the middle of my rear cassette when trying to shift up, I would have to “click” it twice and it would “jump up” an extra gear. Woot, I have finally ridden my bike enough to need a service!! Another milestone down! I would also like to attribute my failure to make the turn to paying attention to the mechanical issue- newb mistakes 🙂

After contacting my Buddy and being rescued, lol, we got back on course and made back to his house safely. All in all it was a great day and truly awesome ride.

Total Mileage: 53.46 MILES!! This beat my longest ride to date by over 16 Miles!

Although I did have to slow down a bit near the end, I never bonked! This is showing me that my nutrition plan worked pretty well! It also showed me a very good level of fatigue. So I know I have the strength and my endurance is really picking up. I’m so proud and excited to see and feel these gains in my abilities. So often you improve but don’t see it from your personal perspective. This was a great experience and I can’t wait for my next long ride! But that will probably wait for at least next weekend haha.

So for the day we had zero flats. Zero Falls(although I made a solid attempt to fall at the meet up location- but we won’t count that). Zero other mishaps. Excepting my taking a longer route hehe.

The sun was shining. We had great people in the group. We couldn’t of asked for a better ride!

I linked it below if you guys want to take a look!

Thanks for reading everyone! Leave me any comments or questions!

Garmin Connect.

 

Thursday Afternoon Ride


After a pretty hectic day, I was able to get out yesterday afternoon for a nice ride with a training Buddy. The weather was nice and clear with the temperature around 64 degrees.

As I was still feeling Sunday’s Ride and Tuesday’s Run in my legs, we agreed to go slow… Yeah it didn’t feel that way lol.

It was a 23 mile and some change route. I was able to keep a very good rhythm with high cadence. I kept up with my buddy(he is a lot more experienced than I not to mention a stronger cyclist lol) and felt pretty good the entire time.

Afterwards, my legs still felt good. In fact, I would go so far as to say that they felt better after the ride.

I had some gels with me and Heed. I used the same combo of alternating gel/water and Heed every 10 minutes and still felt comfortable. No stress or anything uncomfortable.

Most of the route was on feeder roads for residential areas. Traffic was lighter than I had expected(although this was my first time on this route during this time of day). All of the drivers were also very considerate- mostly meaning it didn’t seem like they were aiming for us.

At the halfway point, we took a minute to rest at a YMCA on a bench at the front of the building. Pulling into the parking lot, I went the wrong way and I was basically stuck across a raised sidewalk. So I slowed down a bit, got into a light gear that was very easy to push, turned perpendicular to the curb, and bunny hopped it. I landed both wheels on grass and was able to stay upright and move onto the sidewalk to get to the other side of the parking lot. All in all, I felt that worked out pretty good.

With the nice weather, clear streets, and good company the ride seemed to almost go to fast! When we were done, there was still enough light left to chill outside and cool down for a bit with some light conversation.

I called it another successful ride. Wheels on the road!

Thanks for reading guys! Let me know what you think!

Saturday Ride with the Wife and Sunday Training Ride


The Wife- The Boss
The Wife- The Boss

I forgot to put a Pic of the wife on her Bike! Oops!

So last Saturday the Wife and I went out to take a little ride. We only did 10 miles, but it was a great day and we truly enjoyed it. she worked on her cadence a lot and I could not have been more impressed. Her riding is progressing very quickly and she is getting stronger and stronger. She is even getting on the trainer a couple of nights a week. So motivating!

Afterwards we had a pretty chill rest of the day. Sunday was going to be a big day for me 🙂

Sunday was a training ride with the Energy Riders Series. It was a great day out at Hockley, Texas. I was able to ride with a few friends for a couple of miles, then really put the pace on.

The ride itself had planned routes for 36 Miles and 49 Miles. I opted for the 36 Mile route, as I had a planned Run later in the afternoon and I didn’t want to be too tired for it. Haha.

The morning was slightly chilly, in the 50’s, and very foggy- like you can’t see 200 yards in front of you foggy.

After arriving and getting the bike in order and double checking my pockets and gear I made a quick “head call” then hooked up with my buddies from Team RWB.

Something came to mind while I was getting the bike and gear in order. For only having 3 pockets it really seems like I carry a lot. Gels in right pocket- one packet open and one extra just in case, jacket in center pocket, knife(can’t leave home without it) clipped to left pocket and phone inside that pocket too. I know it isn’t really “a lot”, but it can feel that way lol.

I did wear some knee warmers and arm warmers. I also wore a thermal skull cap, as it was still a bit chilly, and I hate a cold and damp head(remember the fog- man I wish I had taken a pic of it). These could easily be pulled off and tossed in a pocket as well(see more gear in a pocket!!)

I carry all my flat gear in a saddle bag under the seat. Two tubes and two pop bottles. Couple of tyre levers. Multi-tool. Finished off the kit with a valve to screw onto the bottles. I also include my license and a 20$. In case of an emergency stop at a bar or gentlemen’s club.(just kidding lol)…. kinda.

After a few final checks. We took off!

This was an organized ride. The course was marked. Pretty well(with one exception that we will cover later).

The first few miles I rode in a 3 person group with my buddies. It was to be a slow, easy day for them, so I chilled and got a very good warm up in. Around mile 3 we came to an unknown fork in the road. No sign to tell us which way to go, but there was a sign showing the “wrong way” on one fork and no sign on the other fork. We took a vote and decided to go down the unmarked fork. This just happened to be the right decision, haha, as we soon saw another sign for the course. There were even a few riders behind us and apparently we had “set a trend” so everyone had a group to follow so they didn’t have to stop and consult maps, gps, or cue cards like we had.

About 5 miles in I took my leave of my friends and continued on my journey to my longest ride ever! I set a pretty decent pace. Always keeping my cadence above 85 and adjusting gearing to match this(I did spend a large portion of the time over 90- I’ve been working on it and it is starting to pay off). Speed, of course, adjusted with the gear, but the average after the ride was 17.3 mph. Not fast, but not too slow for me :).

My heart rate stayed pretty high throughout the ride, upwards of 175. However, I wasn’t dying for breath and I felt great the entire time.

Before the ride, I had setup a 10 minute alarm- so every ten minutes I could drink/eat. This allowed me to alternate taking a gel and water and drinking Heed. This worked pretty good, as I didn’t feel my energy strength flagging near the end of the ride.

At the first rest stop I refilled the water, got a couple of pretzels for the salt(I did not bring salt tabs) and chilled until my buddies showed up. This was at the 14 mile mark. there was a loop that would leave and bring you back to it within a few miles(can’t remember exactly how far now), then head back to the start. Since it was warming up a bit, I went ahead and took of the skullcap. I left on the knee and arm warmers, more for comfort and wicking than because it was cold.  I chilled out till my friends got there. They decided they were going  to turn around there and not do the loop, since they were taking it easy and their pace would be a bit slow to complete the course in time.

So I took off to set more world records on my trusty steed. I got set up, took off, and made my way down the “short route”. I got about 3-4 miles in and looked down to see how I was doing on time, since I hadn’t heard my beeper go off to drink. So there I am looking down, and low and behold- I didn’t start the damn thing after the rest stop. So I started it…. Yep anti-climactic much heh? At that point there was nothing else I could really do.

Well, I wasn’t going to let a little thing like not recording all the data ruin my day! I continued to push a high cadence. I felt strong. My heart rate was still high, but I didn’t let it bug me. I also did a few surges and sprints. I tried to go for about 1 minute then rest for 2, then repeat. I don’t know how many I did, but I was passing people left and right!(and yes, I only passed them on their left)

I swung back through the rest stop and decided not to stop. I felt too good to stop now!

I made sure I was always aware of my surroundings by really enjoying the countryside.

As the day progressed, the fog was driven away and revealed a sunny day and that was warm and very comfortable. The sun was out and shining. The road was smooth. Other riders were really enjoying the day as well.

After a few more “surges” I set a steady pace and kept it. I continued to pass people to the end of the course. It really did seem like they were starting to tire and slow down and not be able to keep up the pace. I don’t know their individual circumstances of course. So I can’t say that this was “planned” or if it was a nutrition issue, or if they had maybe set out at too fast a pace? I don’t know one way or the other, but man did I feel accomplished that I still felt strong as I came back into the parking lot to the finish.

I made a few laps around the lot and then stowed my gear. Drank and a recovery drink to help with that, and made sure to top off the water bottle for the drive home.

All in all. Great day for a great ride. I know others can do this distance like it is nothing. For me, this little 36 mile jaunt marked the furthest I have traveled in one day of riding. I really feel that I am progressing. Although I will never be a Crowie or a Wiggins, I think I am on a good path to be the best rider I Can Be!

My data was recorded on my phone using the Wahoo App and RFLKT. I have since become the owner of a 910xt. I have it mounted up and took a ride on it today. I’ll be posting that story tomorrow. Till then.

Laters!!

Fun day for a great ride!
Fun day for a great ride!

 

Thanks for reading folks! Let me know what you think!

My Bike- Name: The Bike


My First Bike
My First Bike

Side View

Well, I have one Bike…. For now. It is a 54 CM Felt Z7. So far I have logged 206 Miles on it. These have been very enjoyable- comfort wise.

It is entirely stock. The bike shop that I purchased it from did a basic Fit for me and that has seemed more than adequate so far. I plan on hitting about 500+ miles then getting a professional fit. As it is, i have no joint or tendon soreness after rides- although my longest ride has been 29 miles so far.

The Frame is from the “Endurance” class Road Bikes from Felt.

It has a very comfortable saddle to bar drop that I have found is comfortable for at least 2 1/2 hours(my longest ride haha).

It features Felt’s Performance CF Frame with mostly internal routing(both top and bottom tubes). The Frame really makes a comfortable ride for me. I can feel it flex going over bumps and rough roads, which reduces the strain on me while riding. Which is always a good thing.

It has Tubeless ready wheels out of the box, however I do not plan on going tubeless anytime soon. It also has “All Weather” tires from felt- which have held good traction over the few rides I have had on damp or wet roads.

The Stock saddle seems to fit me well. However, I do notice a tendency to slide forward a bit and need to readjust myself to get my sit bones back on the saddle properly. I do not yet know if this is a sizing issue, or maybe an angle or something else that may need to be adjusted. That being said, I don’t/haven’t noticed any major soreness or other issues I have read that people have had with saddles.

It comes with a pretty complete Sora Drive Train. These are the “newer” version of Sora, so the Shifters are STI(which I like, so I will be “ready” for upgrades without relearning my shifting positions and patterns later on). It has a 9 Gear cassette on the wheel, and a compact crank set. So far this has served me well. I feel that this set is smooth and responsive. I know others may disagree, based on performance specs or past experience with the same series of components, but they just feel good to me.

Past this, the Bike is light. feels very agile and able to do anything I will want it to do, at least for now. I am truly enjoying this bike, and I would definitely recommend it for anyone who fits the geometry.

I’ll post more about the bike as I put on the miles, as well as updates on any modifications or upgrades as they come.

The Dreaded “First Flat”


So while on a ride yesterday- had my first flat. This was also my first completely solo ride.

Now to say I was “prepared” for a flat would be a lie. I had not practiced changing a Tube, playing with the tools, or even really looking into doing any of this at all.

However, I was prepared, by ensuring(with the use of a friend who is a very very experienced rider) that I HAD all of the tools and materials I would need when the “Day of the First Flat” would come.

Although I only took pics of the Flat and the Fixed Tire. I would like to go through and talk about the experience.

There I was, it felt like I must have been going like 50 MPH on a straight away!!(in the real world that equals about 15-17 MPH sorries). When the road suddenly got a lot more rough than just seconds before. I pretty much knew something was wrong- but what could it be? I immediately stopped pedaling and started to slowly apply both brakes. While slowing, I discounted anything falling off, completely broken, or a catastrophic failure- I mean, I didn’t do a flip, skid to a halt and I was still upright right? So it can’t be too bad…..

As I slowed, I picked a good line in front of me that gave me a few seconds of “I can look around” time. I looked down and beheld a front tire that was bowing under the rim. Woot!! Figured out what was wrong! A flat Front Tire!….. Not what the hell am I gonna do! Oh that’s right, I have a tool bag under the saddle.

So I got off, moved far onto the side of the road- nice little grassy area to work in, it was a great temporary office. Took off the wheel and just started to inspect it. “Something” had caused the flat, so I figured the best route would be to find That, before doing anything else. I identified a staple sticking out of the side of the rubber. Now I am no expert, but I am pretty sure I haven’t seen this staple installed there before. So I pulled it out(the tube btw, is pretty much completely empty. at this point).

Now I get to use tools! I pulled out the Tire Levers to get the tire off the wheel, which was pretty simple- although I am totally glad I had two levers, that made it much easier to work around the rim. Now, I know you don’t “have to”, but I took it all the way off(paying attention to the directional arrow so I could re install it correctly(50/50 right?). I then inspected the area the staple was in and the rest of the inside and outside of it to ensure it was free of FOD. I then removed the old tube and folded it up as small as possible. Pulled out a new tube and a Pop Bottle(tis what I call the CO2 cartridges) and the valve to screw onto it. Put on the new tube, which was easier than expected. And now the fun part. Getting the damn tire back on and making sure not to crimp or overlap the tube at all(it seemed logical that filling up a tube with it not “fully inside the tire” could lead to issues. That part was fun. I ended up putting just a bit of air in the tube, and that helped out immensely. This part probably took 5 minutes by itself haha.

Now I find where my tools are wanting. I don’t have a gauge. So I used my hand as a gauge :). I took the partially inflated tire to the back of the bike and felt the back tire. Then just kept putting in air until they felt “about the same”. It worked pretty darn good too. When I got home I put my track pump on it and I was at like 118 psi- which is just 2 psi below what I manually inflate them- good times.

I rolled up the old tube, and stuck it in my saddle bag. Put the pop bottle in my jersey pocket. The valve and levers back in the saddle bag. And put the Wheel back on the bike. Everything is now cleaned up and the bike is all back together.

Woot first flat fixed and ready to go! Good times.

I plan on continuing with the same tool combo’s and materials. However, I want to find and add a small hand pump with a gauge on it. So I can use the pop bottle for the convenience of putting a lot of volume in fast, and then fine tune the pressure with the hand pump. Is this a normal practice? Or even advisable? I ask, because I only had about 5 miles left of the ride. But, were I out on a 50 Mile + ride, I don’t know if I would be very comfortable on an “Unknown” Tube Pressure. I am sure one can be found that will easily fit in a jersey pocket- I don’t think I would really want it on the frame, no real reason why, but it just does not appeal to me right now.

And this concludes the first flat for New Guy Cycling lol. I am sure there are many to come. I am just glad and very thankful I had what I needed to handle it without to much issue.

Let me know what ya think!

Cause: Staple
Cause: Staple
Fixed it!
Fixed it!

Another Ride on the Books!


Was able to sneak out and put in another ride yesterday afternoon. I just rode, no real fitness goals or anything. I did maintain a high HR the entire time and I felt fine. Set a pretty good pace and just pushed it out.

Also got to experience my First Flat!! Woot woot. Pics below. I picked up a staple in my front tire, in the side wall. pretty simple to pull out, and made sure there was nothing left on the inside. Since this was in the side wall of the tire, does that mean I under-inflate my tires? I usually fill them to about 120 psi(recommended by the bike shop guys). Just wondering about every one else’s experiences with that.

This was the first time I have changed a tube. was not too hard at all. When I got the bike I made sure that I picked up all the tools I would need/would make the job easier, for changing a flat. All in all, it took about 10-15 minutes- adding in a couple of minutes to take some pics and shoot some text messages haha.

This was also my first solo ride. So, it figures I would get a flat all by myself lol.

Other than that, the ride was great. Awesome weather. Traffic wasn’t bad. No one seemed to intentionally test how hard it is to hit someone on two wheels.

It was going to be a 25 mile ride- that turned into a 23 mile ride due to the flat. I try to keep most of my rides to where I only 5-10 miles from the house at any one time. So I usually make crosses with the roads, by just going up it and turning around after a few miles.

Afterwards, I felt great. Had a recovery drink( I like After Glow and sometimes Recoverite), some small and easy to digest food, and water to help gain back what I had lost.

More to come as we conquer the road!

cause: Staple
cause: Staple
Used a pop bottle to fill it up.
Used a pop bottle to fill it up.