Saturday, January 23, 2010

Roosevelt Rough Rider 200k Perm

One of the best things about my new job is having Fridays off. I really have not taken too much advantage of the day to ride yet, until this past Friday. I was hoping to recruit someone to ride with me, but alas, no one was able to join me. So I took off at 6 am Friday to ride the 200k that goes through Pelahatchie, Morton, Puckett, back to Pelahatchie, Goshen Springs and then home via the Natchez Trace.

This was not a day to blog about! My legs were tired all day and I did not have any power. Without anyone to ride with it was up to me to push myself, and I just did not feel like pushing today. I was also double checking my cue sheet. I have a fellow from New Jersey coming down to ride it on February first to complete his 2nd R-12. I was pretty sure it was a good cue sheet as Pat and a guy from Missouri had both ridden it without me. However, the Trace officals have built a fence blocking our access to the entry point we have historicaly used. So, I need to revise the cue sheet to include the new entrance and exit points.

The day itself was priceless. The morning was cooler than I expected and I was on the cold side of comfortable. I did not bring gloves and my feet were cold - colder than any of my last rides in colder temperatures. However, the temperature warmed throughout the day and I was in heaven. The sky was brilliant blue and the winds were light and comfortable. Even though my legs were burning most of the day I was having a blast being outside in warm weather.

My only mistake was my clothing choices. I wanted to look good and still be comfortable. One thing I hate is taking your base layer off when you get warm. The base layer is very important and in the winter, you have to have it. My silk layer has been the best so far, but when I get hot, I have to take off my over shirt and my base layer and replace the over shirt. So basically, I strip to my sports bra and redress. So to combat that I put on a short sleeve jersey as my base layer and a long sleeve jersey on top. Wrong! The jersey did not act as a base layer or the long sleeve jersey trapped the heat in and did not allow it to be wicked. So I was sweating under my jacket. That made me feel colder than I would have otherwise. Eventually I ended up in my base layer jersey and arm warmers.

The ride was very uneventful until the final 3 miles. I was just crossing Brashier Creek Bridge when two pick ups passed me. I hear a loud fire cracker pop. My first thought was that one of the guys in the pick ups threw a fire cracker at me. My second thought was, Crap, I knew I should have changed my tire before the ride last night! I have been riding my trainer 3-4 times a week and the trainer burns the rubber and flattens the tire. I had worn that tire down to the point that the tube must have started poking threw the treads and when it finally burst it blew a hole in the tire. So, 3 miles from the house, I can call David or fix my flat and boot my tire. So, to get credit for the ride I changed my tire. I had never booted a tire before so I wasn't sure how it really worked, but I put a dollar bill between the hole in the tire and the tube and pumped up the tire. The whole thing took 20 minutes. Not bad - not great, but not bad.

The results of the ride were not great. I only averaged 13.6 mph over 125 miles. My total time was 11 hrs and 41 min. Ride time was 9 hr and 18 min. Oh well, I had fun riding in beautiful weather. The only thing that would have made this ride better would have been riding it with friends!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

America the Beautiful

I have been asked why I would want to cross the United States on a bike. My reasons are many. One reason and probably the main reason is that I think that God gave us the World - the United States to enjoy. I look at our earth as a Gift from God. The earth is Gods canvass and I want to not only see it but experience it. One can see the US from the internet or by car, but to truly experience it I think you have to live it and expend some sort of effort to enjoy it. I remember my first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean, the picture of it is on the side panel of this blog. Working to cycle up that particular hill to get to Jalama Beach, Ca made that peek of blue so amazing. It etched itself onto my memory and I will never forget it.

So I want to ride my bike across America to live the first verse of America the Beautiful. The words, if you don't remember them, are as follows:

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

I cannot wait to cycle in spacious skys. How blue will the skys be? Will the sky over Montana be bluer that the skies over West Virginia? How many gray skys? Hopefully not many or only when I am really hot!

I have seen pictures of the amber waves of grain, but what will it be like to be able to smell the grain as you pass it? To get off the bike and run your hand through it?

I am scared of the purple mountains! Will my mountains be purple or will they be more clay or orange colored? I guarantee they will be majestic. I hope my training is preparing me to cross those mountains. I will be on the recumbent which will make it a little more difficult as compared to a standard bike. I really want to make it up them without being sagged.

Fruited plain - how many different orchards will we cycle by? I am guessing we will pass apple orchards, but I really don't know. I am clueless what other fruit crops we might pass. I am guessing we will see corn, but we have corn here in Mississippi. I wonder how many road side vegetable and fruit stands will we cycle by? I will stop at one and eat fresh road side fruit while riding my bike. I remember a ride in Texas in June 2007. George Elizondo stopped at a fruit stand and bought us all fresh peaches. I can still taste the peach and feel the juice run down my arm. Do you remember the last time you had road side fruit? Is it etched in your memory?

Brotherhood? That will be interesting to see. I am sure that we will come across many more good people than we will mean spirited ones.

From sea to shining sea! Wow! I was talking to my sister the other day and she indicated that she really could not comprehend riding a bike across the US. I wonder if I really do? Writing "from sea to shining sea" is easy, but how hard will it be to cycle from sea to shining sea? I can't wait to smell the oceans - each of them and feel their spray on my face. It is a tradition when cycling across America that you dip the back wheel of your bike in the Pacific Ocean at the start of your cross country and the front wheel of your bike in the Atlantic Ocean the last day of your ride. I will get to do this!

GOD SHED HIS GRACE ON ME - by far the most important line in this great song. God has shed and is shedding his grace on me. I feel so lucky. I don't believe in coincidence. Too many things have lined up just right for me to be able to train and plan on this ride. GOD SHED HIS GRACE ON ME!

This is why I want to ride my bike across the United States.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

200 k

Held my January 200k today. The forcast was
for all day rain in 40-50 degee temps. I elected
not to ride as I did not want to ride in the wet
and cold. One is okay both are miserable and
I really don't need the rode right now. Pat called
and wasn't coming as he was sick. Rob from
Hattiesburg was supposed to ride but did not
show. So Neil from Atlanta was the only cyclist
for the ride.

I decided to drive over to jims for a 30 mile
ride before the rain came in. I rode hard and

Neil finished the ride with only half of it wet
in 10 hrs and 25 minutes

Friday, January 15, 2010

Test from my I touch

Well I am attemping to blog from my I touch. I don't know if I will like
blogging on the itouch but it would be easier to us it as compared
to taking a lap top on my trip. I won't be able to upload pictures to
the blog from the itouch but I may be able to upload them using
some other application. Who knows? So far it doesn't seem to be
too difficult.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Less than 6 months

It is less than 6 months before I leave for my Transcon. Matter 0f fact, 6 months from today I will be spending the night in Spokane, Washington. Wow!

I received my ride packet from PAC tour today. It has me pretty scared. It mentions several times that for a cyclist to be truly successful on the Transcon ride they need to be able to ride 200 miles in 14 hours. I am not there yet. Oh, crap, I am not there yet! My best 300k ride 192 miles was in 15 hr and 30 min.

So, I am going to continue to bust my butt following my coach's plan and hope and pray (and pray some more) that I can overcome the obstacle standing between me and my dream of riding my bike across America...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Magic Carpet pics

My new bike

Magic Carpet Ride - First 200k of 2010!

Okay, so I decided to go to New Orleans with Doug on Friday afternoon for Pat's 200k.

Thursday afternoon I get a call from Jim that my bike is ready. Unfortunately, he had gotten ill the previous night but came in and finished my bike anyway. I felt pretty bad about him working while sick, but I was really excited about having the bike for the weekend. I finish up my Thursday to do list and hurried over to Jim's. He had customers in the shop and I knew it would be difficult to spend much time with him between the customers and the fact that he was not feeling well.

I took the bike for a short ride just in front of the shop and boy did it feel good! It is such a gorgeous bike! It really did feel comfortable. I wish I had not hemmed and hawed about it so much and gotten it in July. Oh well.

So I took it home and put the blinky lights on it and took it out for a short spin on Highland Colony Parkway. I was really impressed with the way it rode. The only problem was with the "engine" - my legs were shot from my earlier "ride to puke" intervals. On the flats I could easily push 19 but on the inclines I was doing a wimpy 7 mph. Hopefully, my legs would heal before Saturday or it would be a long day. So the beautiful new blue bike made it a total of 15 miles on its maiden voyage!

David helped me get the bike Rando ready Thursday evening. We had to add one more blinky, change the battery in the front speedometer, attach the cadence monitor and attach the water bottle cage. The water bottle will be an issue as it had to be installed on my left side. I am not as good at drinking with my left hand and driving with my right. But, that was the only way the water bottle would work and I have to have a water bottle for my Hammer products.

Friday was New Years day and I had several things to do around the house before I could leave for New Orleans. I briefly thought about getting up and riding early, but I preferred to stay in bed and cuddle with David for a while. At 3:30 I left to meet Doug at Jims. As Doug was loading my bike into his truck, he noticed the back tire was low on air. Darn, I would have to change the tire later that evening. We had an uneventful drive down to Pat's. John Shelso and a new guy, Lewis from Shreveport, were already in the casita. I went ahead and changed my tire and Pat reminded me that it was Doug that let air out of Steve's tire last February. Interestingly, I could not find where the leak was coming from - hmmmmm.

Saturday, Doug and I decided to drive out to the ride start at Audubon instead of cycling in. This would hopefully get us back home earlier that evening as Doug had to get back for his wedding anniversary on Sunday. The parking lot was full of recumbents! I was expecting John Schlitter to be there with his CA2, but little did I know that there would be a total of 5 CA2s on the ride! I would have loved to have seen my face as they all came out. In total there were 10 bacchettas, Pat's tour easy and 2 upright bikes. There was also another female cyclist, Ellen from Gainsville, FL. I was pretty excited to see another recumbent randonneuring female on the ride.

We started pretty much on time and just because I was at the gates first, I led us out. The temps were in the high 30's but it was very sunny. We did have a slight breeze, but nothing too bad. It would end up warming up to right around 50. I could tell right away my legs were pretty heavy. I stayed in front for all of 5 minutes maybe when the Bee Hive came rolling by. I so wanted to latch on to the back, but JS and crew were already going so fast that there was no way for me to stay on for even 1 full second. Oh well, I did get to meet the fast guys! One of these days, and this is a promise, I will ride with them!

I continued to ride with John Shelso for the first 5 miles or so and eventually Ellen caught up with us. She was a very strong rider. I later learned that she was just getting back to randonneuring again and so in time, she will be a very strong rider. Anyway, I rode within eyesight of her for the first 35 miles. I was having to slow down to every time I took a sip from my water bottle.

So, at this point, I can't believe how smooth the ride is. I am so comfortable on this bike. My body had adjusted perfectly to the carbon seat and my arms were comfortable with the distance from the handlebars. It was like riding on a cloud - thus, I am naming my bike "Magic Carpet". I still need to get accustomed to the q-rings, but overall the bike was phenomenal!!!

At the Valero stop we met back up with Doug and several of the other riders. Ellen's friend, Jay from St Petersburg, Fl, was waiting for her. He decided not to ride with JS and boy was that a lucky stroke for me! Jay is a Bacchetta team member with a RUSA number less that 1000. So, I knew I was lucky that he was a very good cyclist and probably had a lot of good rando experience. From that point forward, I rode with Jay and Ellen. I was able to pace with them for the entire rest of the ride. I had mixed emotions about this as I felt bad about not riding with Pat, Steve and Dennis. But, this was an opportunity to ride with other cyclists that were riding at a faster pace. Plus, this was the first time a girl from out of the area had come around to ride and I couldn't let her finish hours before me!!!

So, JS and co passed us when we were at mile 55 or so. That meant that they were about 20 miles ahead of us! Doug and Leroy passed us about 3 or so miles out so they may have been 6ish miles ahead of us. I decided to stick to 100% Hammer products, so I did not eat anything at the Subway. Jay and Ellen got something while I was puttering around changing layers and getting my water and Hammer stuff situated. Pat, Steve, Dennis, Butch and Lewis all showed up right before we left. They all seemed like they were having a good day.

I continued to pace off of Jay and Ellen. They did not have to pee as often as I did (7 times total) so I got dropped once, but they waited up for me a few miles up the road and I was able to continue with them. Somewhere around mile 80 or so I realized my bike was making a funny noise. I wasn't sure what it was, but it wasn't awful, so I just kept on riding. The noise continued to get louder as the miles ticked by. Eventually it became really loud and my chain started jumping and slapping and really scaring me. We finally realized that the noise only happened when I coasted. Jay thought it was a frozen pulley on my derailleur. He said as long as I didn't coast, I should be able to ride in without hurting my bike. At this point, we had just hit the levy and still had 20 miles to go. I know I coast alot especially in a pace line so not being able to coast killed my pace line. Jay and Ellen just hung back behind me, sometimes pacing me and sometimes not. My legs were really tired and knowing that I couldn't coast was unnerving. I got to thinking that 20 miles would take about 1.5 hours - 1.5 hours is what a typical days spin class was all summer long. I don't/can't coast in spin class, so this helped me settle down into some kind of rhythm. I would adjust my cadence by just changing the gear up or down one. If my heart rate started climbing too much I would shift to a harder gear. If my legs started to burn, I would change to an easier gear. I actually got very comfortable doing this and was able to increase my speed from 14.5 mph to 17 mph. I am sure my speed would also change as the wind changed, but I really felt good.

Ellen and I reached the end of the levy at 5:02. This gave us a finishing time of 10 hr and 2 min. I still have not completed a 200 k in less than 10 hrs. Darn! However, this ride was 132 miles so my 126 mile time would have been less than 10. My century time was 7 hrs 50 min. I still need to take off 50 min on my century time. I sure hope that the drills and dieting will pay off! I ended up with a 15.7 mph ave; 8:25 on bike time, 1.5 hrs off bike. My HR ave was 149 and max 161. Ave cadence was 79 and max was 119.

Looking forward to the next ride once I get the Magic Carpet fixed.