Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day ride

As most members of the SPP rode to Happy Harbor in Deale, MD. I opted for a much shorter, more leisurely ride to City Dock and back.

Emily is here this weekend and has a 2:30 flight back to Virginia Beach, so a ride to Deale, even with the 6:00 a.m. start would significantly cut into the amount of time I would be able to spend with her. Quality time with her is precious, and I can ride to Deale some other time.

I had to get in at least 8.2 miles to reach 700 miles for the month. So I slept in a little bit and headed to City Dock. My original plan was to ride Bikenstein, which is the Allez that I put together with parts that I picked up here and there. I got out of the driveway and shifted to the little chain ring and after a couple of revolutions of the chain, it dropped of the chain ring. I put it back on and again, after a couple of revolutions it dropped off again. I think it is a front derailleur adjustment, but I didn't have time to fool with it this morning, so I rode the Roubaix.

As you can see by the Garmin stats, I was not out to set any land speed records. I was out to spin my legs and get myself to 700 + miles for the month. I am fairly surprised that I rode that many miles for the month. If you look at my training log, you will see that I was off the bike and rode zero miles on more days than I care to admit. Almost half the month. I hope to do better in June.

Here are the Garmin stats for today's ride.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Around the River to Crofton

With the promise of s beautiful day, Mike and I agreed to meet at 6:00 to do a ride around the river, with a short side trip to Caribou Coffee in Crofton.

We met at the corner of Shore Acres Rd and College Parkway and headed east towards Sandy Point State Park. We were moving at a pretty good speed. Each time I looked town at the Garmin it was showing 20 - 22 mph. This usually only happens when there is a pretty strong tailwind pushing us down the road. I started searching for a flag pole. I wanted to see how strong the wind was blowing the flags. When I finally found one, I was delighted to see that the flag was limp. No wind at all. We continued on towards Annapolis and finally the pace slowed. What had happened was that Mike would get a little ahead of me so I would speed up and get a little ahead of him and he would speed up.

We arrived at City Dock and stopped briefly for me to make a wardrobe adjustment. While we were stopped, an older gentleman in a Volvo stopped and complimented us on our tail lights. He said that bicyclists are sometimes difficult to see, but with the tail lights he could see us from a good distance away. I defer that compliment to Mike's tail-beacon. I think he found a lighthouse that was being decommissioned and is using their lantern for a tail light. Riding behind him can be a blinding experience. I joke about the light, but it certainly can seen and that is the purpose.

We headed up General's Highway to Waterbury Rd to take our side trip to enjoy coffee and a bagel at Caribou Coffee in Crofton. I was a little familiar with the route, so I was navigating. WELL, I have to say, on all of the 200k rides that I have done with Mike, I relied on him for the navigation and we have never missed a turn. On this short side trip we relied on my navigation and we missed our turn. Not TOO big of a deal, we added a couple bonus miles, but we got to see some beautiful scenery along the way. We got back on course and arrived at Caribou Coffee to enjoy the outdoor patio, beautiful weather and good conversation.

The ride back was uneventful. We both decided that we had sat too long at the coffee shop and our legs were in s slight state of rebellion. We worked through that and set a comfortable pace home. On the trail, we started doing it again. He'd speed up, I'd speed up etc. I guess it was an appropriate way to end the ride together.

It was a great day, and like Mike said at the coffee shop, there are a lot worse ways to spend a Sunday morning. I'd have to agree.

Garmin details below.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday Morning Ride with SPP

My intention was to ride with the 6:00 a.m. group which meets up with the 7:30 group to ride into Annapolis. The 6:00 a.m. ride did not work out for me. I woke up early enough, and I even got out of bed and made my way downstairs. However, when I was checking email I heard the pounding rain on the sky lights and decided that I did not want to start the day of riding soaking wet. I went back upstairs and got an extra hour of sleep. I managed to make it to the Rusty Bridge for the 7:30 ride. There were 19 of us I think. We headed into Annapolis to enjoy breakfast and some camaraderie. After breakfast the group split. One headed out to Bay Ridge for extra miles and beautiful views of the bay. and the other group (which is the one I was in) headed back up the trail to our respective destinations. I met Bev at the Farmer's Market for an Iced coffee from the Cosmic Bean tent and a scone from Vera's tent. We flagged Mike down as he rode by on his way home and the three of us enjoyed refreshments and good conversation. After the coffee and scones were gone, Mike headed home... I headed home on the bike and Bev headed out to do some shopping. It was a great morning on the bike and with good friends.

Stats below...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Half and Half... - PM Ride added

So this morning I rode to work alone. Mike does sailing races on Wednesday and riding the bike does not get him from work to Annapolis soon enough to make the races. It is always better to ride with someone else, there are very few who people that I know that will dispute that. But, there are also some days that riding alone is okay too. When I ride alone, I can stop and call Bev to wake her up so she can go to work early to avoid all the Blue Angels and USNA graduation hub-bub at the Academy. I can also ride a little slower because the legs are just not feeling like turning this morning. I can also take a different route if I want to, and that is what I did this morning. It was half trail half road. I took the road route from Jumper's Hole Rd. It was a beautiful morning, and there was very little traffic. I am not saying that I couldn't do ALL of these things if I was riding with Mike, I am just saying that I didn't have to consider anybody else when making these choices. Finally, I also enjoy my Wednesday solo rides because it gives me a chance to gain a few miles on Mike for the month. I need to get a good lead because I will not be able to ride to Sweet Sue's on Memorial Day, which will be about 100 miles of riding for Mike. I an confident that we will both have over 700 miles for the month of May. Looking at my training log, and how many days I didn't ride, I should have had 800 or more miles. Oh well, there is always June.

Stats for this morning:

Uneventful ride home. Very hot and humid.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It is feeling good again -PM Ride added

I have heard it over and over again, "... if you exercise you'll have more energy!" Well, one would think that the exercise would wear you out and make you more tired, but I can attest to the fact that that is not the case. These past few weeks off the bike because of rain (and other excuses) I have gotten lethargic. No energy to do much of anything, and struggled to get out of bed. After 43 miles of riding yesterday, I got all my bike clothes washed dried and folded, got the dishes done after dinner and I was not ready to drop at 9:00 pm. This morning, I was awake at 4:13, laying in bed waiting for the alarm go off at 4:15. I got out of bed, excited to jump on the bike again for the commute to work. To make a long story (blog entry) short, I am glad to be back in the routine again. And for those of you who are wondering (you know who you are).... i have NOT gained all my weight back again.

Here are the stats from this mornings ride.

This afternoon I rode home alone. I set a leisurely pace and enjoyed the scenery that I miss in the morning while it is dark. I was delayed a little bit while riding through Severna Park by a woman looking for her two boys and little girl. 2 other bikers were riding up and down the trail, the County police helicopter was circling and the park ranger was driving up the trail. BY the time I got to Jones Station Rd, I no longer heard the helicopter, so I am hopeful that the children were found unharmed.

Here are the stats for this afternoons ride

Monday, May 24, 2010

Back in the saddle again....(Evening commute appended)

As much as my body told me NOT to get out of bed, my mind took over and I was able to muster the energy to get up at 4:15 to ride my bike to the train station for work.

Mike met me at the Park and Ride in Severna Park and we headed up the trail towards BWI. We encountered a little bit of mist along the way, but no rain to speak of.

I deviated from my route just a little this morning. I followed Stewart Ave out to the light at Dorsey Rd and took a right there. Dorsey Road has a fairly large shoulder and traffic was not that bad. I may do this every now and again, just to remain a little unpredictable.

Here are the stats -

The scheduling worked out for Mike and I to ride home together this afternoon. After a phone call here and there, we set a good pace and made good time getting home to our loved ones.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Off the bike...(Ammended)

It has been a pretty dismal week for riding. I did the 200k on Sunday, and if you read the ride reports you know that Mike and I attained our personal best for a 200k. This week has been a personal worst for me in regards to riding. Monday, the thighs were telling me that I needed a day off the bike. Even Dave allows for missing one day for each 200k ridden. Tuesday, I should have ridden. It was misty in the morning and drizzly in the evening. I have ridden in worse, but the thighs talked me out of riding again. Wednesday, there were grey skies, and called for showers between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. which is right while I would be riding. So, not only did I not get up early and ride, I slept in and went to work late. How's that for motivated? This morning, I got up, went downstairs made preparations to ride. I had to backup a database that I was working on last night, and that did not go smoothly. I could not remember if I had shorts in the box at BWI to change into to ride the train, I think I took the sweatshirt out of there too. I knew I didn't have any shorts or under garments to change into at work, sorry, too much info... I know. I was not prepared so I did not ride this morning. HOWEVER, hope is not lost. There is a Severna Park Peloton ride that starts at 5:00 pm and I am planning to do that ride tonight. It will be with different people and I am hoping that the pace will be manageable.

I'll keep you posted.

OK, so I am keeping you posted now.

Have you ever had an uneasy feeling about what you were doing, or about to do? As I was riding to meet the group this afternoon, I just had a feeling that something bad was going to happen. The traffic was very heavy and I there were 2 accidents on Benfield Blvd. The drivers were just not paying attention today. I made it to the intersection of W. Benfield and Veteren's Highway. I was early, so I waited by the side of the road, well out of the flow of traffic. I still almost got hit. This ride was suppose to go onto Route 3, which is typically busier than Veterans Highway. I decided to NOT ride with the afternoon group. I headed up Veterans Highway to East West Blvd and rode around there for little while. Only 20 miles, but it felt good to get my legs turning again.

Bike to work day tomorrow. I am taking the day off, go figure. We will be riding into Annapolis for a get together at City Dock. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sailing Down to Solomon

For a much better ride report than I am able to write, please visit Chesapeake Sailor Blog (link to the right). His description is very accurate and my report will mirror much of what his contains... just not as articulately.

Mike and I teamed up again to ride our May 200k. Schedules being what they are, with nicer weather upon us, the number of "commitments" that we have on the weekends increases it makes it more and more difficult to get our schedules to mesh. My March and April 200k's were done solo, and although that does have some benefits (not many, believe me) I was looking forward to riding with someone this month. Mike solicited participation from other members of the Severna Park Peloton and we were joined by Shane.

At 6:00 a.m. we departed the 7-11 in Crofton. Everyone was upbeat and optimistic about the day. This is the same ride that Mike and I did together in February. For that ride we had a 4:30 a.m. start, in the dark, with temperatures below freezing. I have to say, I enjoyed the later, and warmer start this time around.

The early part of the ride was overcast and a little cool. The sun was suppose to make an appearance and warm things up a bit, but I had my doubts as I was looking at the sky. I felt a rain drop and then another and then I saw oncoming traffic with their wipers on. Given that there was only a 10% chance of rain, I did not bring any "rain" gear with me. I was not prepared for rain and because we were so early in the ride, I was very nervous that any serious rainfall would make this a long and miserable ride. That could have resulted in a phone call to Bev to come get me. Fortunately, that is not how the day turned out.

The pace down to Solomon's was very quick. There were points that I was riding and chatting with Shane and we were doing 18 - 20 mph and I look up and Mike is pulling away from us. On Several occasions I asked Mike if he had his Wheaties for Breakfast or what? From the outside looking in, I could tell that Mike was having a good ride.

We made it to Solomon's and decided that we were all feeling well hydrated, well fed and our legs did not need too much of a break so we opted for a quick stop at the 7-11. I got a water refill and pringles while the other guys got there nutritional replenishment and we were on our way headed north.

As we headed north, we encountered a fairly stiff breeze. It was not the gusty winds that others have had to deal with over the past couple weeks, but it was formidable enough to make a difference. Mike recommended that we each take a 5 minute shift at the front of the line to battle the wind while the other two enjoyed the reprieve from the wind. That worked out SO well. I don't feel like we lost much time heading north, and no one had to shoulder the entire burden of riding into the wind. This is one of many reasons why riding with someone is better than riding alone.

Riding into the wind did take it's toll. Shane developed a cramp, but was able to ride on to a country store at about mile 80. We stayed there for an extended break for him to stretch and rest his leg. I enjoyed some peanut butter crackers and topped off the water bottles. From there we headed to Sweet Sue's in North Beach.

Sweet Sue's is right on the water in North Beach. Riding in to North Beach with the views of the bay, and along the Boardwalk is very pretty. Sweet Sue's did not disappoint. I got a Cranberry Muffin, Mike got a scone of some variety and Shane got an eclair that was as big as his leg. (Mike's blog has a picture) Maybe that was to help the cramp in his leg, I don't know, but it was the biggest eclair I had ever seen. We all enjoyed our sweets, filled up on water and we were on our way again.

As we neared the end of the ride, we crossed Davidsonville Rd. with about 6 miles to go. If we took a left it would have been a straight shot back to the 7-11. The cue sheet however, calls for us to cross Davidsonville Rd and it brings us through some pretty enough neighborhoods and then back out onto Davidsonville Rd. I wish there was an option on the route to do those extra couple of miles down in Solomon's. I don't know the area down there, but after 122 miles of a 126 mile ride, when you are so close to home, you just want to "get there".

During the ride, I used the same nutrition/hydration plan as I did in April. Drink constantly, 2 -3 e-caps per hour, cheese bagels, fig newtons, sports beans and food at the controls. This worked well for me again. On rides were water is not readily available, I will have to come up with a strategy for that, but so far... so good.

The last 2 long rides that I have done, I have felt really good during and after the rides. I hope that this trend continues. Mike and I are conspiring to do a 300k in September. As I continue to feel better after these 200k's, my level of confidence for longer rides increases ever so slightly.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday Bagel Ride

Headed to Annapolis with Severna Park Peloton. Left early to get a coffee at Java Diva's... not Diva there to serve me coffee. Bummer.

Friday, May 14, 2010

FLAT...., not the tires, ME! The weather, and pollen and a touch of a cold has kept me off the bike for pretty much the whole week, but I purposed in my mind that I WAS going to ride this morning. And that is exactly what I did.

I set the alarm for 4:25 so I could get up and give myself enough time to put the pedals on the Roubaix and try them out, but I turned the alarm off and the next thing I knew it was 4:45. I scrambled and managed to get on the road at 5:07. I decided that I was not going to kill myself trying to get to the Rusty Bridge by 5:45, because I knew that the gang would be heading down the trail, and I would meet up with them at some point. I did make it to the bridge on time and myself and 8 other riders headed into Annapolis for breakfast.

It felt good to be on the bike again, but I could also tell that it had been almost a week. The legs did not want to spin quite so freely. I plan to ride tomorrow, but I am unsure if I will be able to make it for the 6:00 a.m. ride to Java Divas. I have to meet Eddie McGowen (Mr. Annapolis) at City Dock tomorrow morning for assistance in my fund raising efforts for the New England Classic (check out the link if you haven't already). Depending on what time he wants to meet, I may head out to Sandy Point and then into Annapolis, and skip the 6:00 a.m. pre-ride. In any event, I will be out riding tomorrow.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Saturday morning ride(s)

Well, the usually 6:00 a.m. pre-bagel ride did not happen today, at least not for me. I was not feeling like getting out of bed at 4:45 on a Saturday morning to meet the group. I did manage to grab myself by the scruff of the neck and make it to the Rusty Bridge for the 7:30 bagel ride. I made a quick stop at Java Diva's for a cup of coffee before meeting the begal ride group.

We had a smaller turn out than normal because several people are riding other events this weekend. A few are doing a 200k in Lancaster, PA and Chip is doing a 400k today. The numbers may have been decreased by the threat of rain, but I figured... that is why I bought a rain shell.

The ride into Annapolis was uneventful. A nice pace and some nice conversation as we mad eour way up the trail and over the bridge. The wind on the bridge was very strong and gusty and right in our face.

The group split when we got to the City Dock area. Several people went to the City Dock cafe while myself and a few other went to the Hard Bean. I enjoyed an Iced Mocha and a Lemon Poppy muffin. Mike was up against a time deadline to be home in order to get his kids to their various sporting events so he and I did not linger at the Dock for very long and we headed back down the trail. Conveniently, I was headed to the Farmer;s Market which is right where Mike leaves the trail for home. As we were getting close to the Farmer's Market, the skies were getting grey and the wind picked up a little more, and I figured that the rain was finally going to arrive.

When I met Bev, we put the bike in the back of the 4Runner and got our goodies at the market and we headed to a plant sale in Severna Park. By the time we got there, the skies had brightened and since I didn't want to walk through the plant sale in my bike clothes, I took the bike out of the car and rode home.

So far we have had no rain, and I am glad that I got up and was able to get some miles in on a beautiful Saturday morning.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A commuting route change (Evening ride added)

This morning I made my way down to the kitchen at 4:20 to get ready to ride to work. One of the first things that I do is look at the thermometer that displays the outside temperature. I was surprised to see that it read 60 degrees. It was going to be a little nippy this morning. I got my coffee made and my lunch packed in my little bike bag and glanced at the thermometer again... 58 degrees. Better wear that extra layer.

I am glad that I did, because it was cool on the ride in. I had decided when I left the house, that I was going to ride at a leisurely pace, and concentrate on pedaling at a steady even pace. Well, that changed as I turned onto the trail from Jones Station Rd. I made the right hand turn onto the trail, and I saw the flashing tailight of another biker up ahead. Now, It is an instinctual reaction that I have when I see a rider in front of me. I always try to chase him/her down. Very much like a greyhound chases the mechanical rabbit around the track (Ok, so it's more like a St. Bernard chasing a bone... but you get the my point). So I set off to tail light. In my mind I was trying to figure out who it may be. I know Mike's bike is in the shop, and the tail light was not nearly as bright as his. I knew that if it was Dangerous Dan I would never catch him. I could see that I was closing the gap and I knew that I would catch them, so now I was trying to judge how far back I was and determine where on the trail I would over take them. I set a goal to catch them at the Ranger Station. I met that goal and caught up to him at White's Lane. It was not an SPP rider, just another commuter. I kept going at a pretty steady pace and before I knew it I was at Jumper's Hole Rd.

This winter, after I secured my bike box at BWI, I scouted a road route to get me to the airport in the event that the trail was closed. So, since I left the house early this morning (for a leisurely commute) and because I had made good time chasing down the other rider, I decided to take the road route for at least part of the way. Elvaton Rd. does not have much of a shoulder to ride on, but I only saw one car the entire time I was on it. I pretty much had that road to myself. Oakwood was a little busier, but it had a HUGE shoulder to ride in. There were piles of sand that I had to be cautious of, but other than that, it was great. I took a right at Aquahart and got back up on the trail. That little detour did not add too much distance to the trip and did not take up any more time than the trail. It was a nice change of scenary.

The nap on the train was uninterupted. I certainly hope I didn't snore, but I do not remember stopping at either of the two stops on the way in to Washington DC. I hope that means I will be well rested for the commute home.

Ride home... tired legs... tired body... glad to be home. Going to bed. Good night!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Warm Muggy Commute (PM ride included)

It was a very warm and humid ride into the train station this morning. I met Mike at the Park and Ride in Severna Park and we rode together to BWI. It is always nice to have company any time you ride the bike. What is it they say about misery?

The afternoon ride home was nice until the very end. Mike and I met at the BWI rail station for the commute home. As we were just starting out we got passed by a guy in an Army cycling jersey. That didn't sit well with Mike, so we decided not only to catch up to the guy, but we afforded him the privilege of pulling us for a couple miles into the wind. After that, he held onto our wheels for a while and then broke off. We would like to think that he just couldn't hang with Mike and I.

The rest of the ride seemed very spirited. I think Mike may have eaten his Wheaties before he left work, because he was certainly driving the pace. We took turns at the front, but my legs were definitely feeling it.

My ride took a turn for the worse just as I turned for home on Deep Creek Ave. I direct your attention to the Garmin information. Look at the speed graphic, all the way to the right, where the speed shows 29.7. I was headed down the hill and just as I got into my best aerodynamic position on the bike, I got stung by a bee. What do you do when your doing almost 30 mph on 2 very skinny tires on a less that perfectly smooth and you get stung by a bee? You do nothing, because at that speed slight movement on the bike is exaggerated. So I slowed down as quickly as I could and then smacked the bee, but not before he stuck his stinger right down to my thigh bone. Definitely a buzz kill for an otherwise good ride. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dry ride home

For as miserable as the morning ride was... the afternoon ride home was just as enjoyable. I made it home just before more showers arrived.

Rainy Days and Monday....

Well, I got both today. A rainy Monday! What better way to combat that kind of negativity than with a bike ride in the rain. said 40% chance of rain in the morning, and only 10% this evening around the time that I will be riding back from BWI, so I set the alarm and figured I would assess the situation when I woke up. At 4:15 the patio and the driveway was dry, so I saddled up and left the house. There was the occasional rain drop, but nothing serious. Until I got to Whites Lane. It was raining hard enough at that point that I stopped to put my rain shell on. It rained steady from Whites Lane to BWI. When I arrived at my bike box, it really started coming down, so I pushed the bike into the box and carried all my clothes to the area that has all the newspaper vending machines. It is under cover and dry. I am sure the people didn't appreciate my wet bike socks hanging off the handle of the USA Today box, but oh well.

The problem with riding in the rain is really NOT the rain. We wash our bikes with water. We wash ourselves with water. It is the dirt and sand that gets on everything when it is wet that wreaks havoc with the bicycle. I will wipe the chain off and re-lube it before heading home to hopefully minimize the wear and tear on the chain.

All in all (now that I am dry in my office) I am glad that I decided to ride. I certainly commend again Clint, Clif and Chip for riding their fleche in 40 degree rain... in the middle of the night... uphill. It was in the 70's and miserable riding in the rain.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Inspiration day on the bike

I set out from Severna Park Park and Ride this morning at a little after 5 a.m. to mee up with the SPP 6 a.m. pre-bagal ride. This is usually a small group and the pace varies depending on the consensus of the group. We rode through Pasadena and ended up at Java Diva's. If you don't know what Java Diva's is, Google it and check it out. It is certainly a great conversation starter.

After coffee at the Diva's, we met the bagel ride group at the Rusty Bridge and headed into Annapolis for breakfast. I am not sure of the count, but we had a good size group for the ride. We enjoyed breakfast at the Italian place at City Dock and re-mounted our bikes and headed out for a quick ride through Quiet Waters Park.

We then headed to Jonas Green Park to meet up with the Wounded Warriors Project for a ride through Annapolis. I have to say it was one of the most humbling and inspirational events I have ever been a part of. The soldiers were riding with out arms and legs and they ALL had a smile on their faces and thoroughly enjoying themselves. Some were pedaling with their arms, some were pedaling with their legs, but steering with prosthetic arms and so on. If ever I feel like I am too tired or too sore to ride, I will draw on the inspiration that I got from these young men and woman.

The warriors were well recieved as we rode through Annapolis. The Naval Academy had Midshipmen line the street to cheer the warriors as they rode through. Signs were held up thanking them for their service and their sacrifice. Next year I hope to ride with the warriors from Andrews Air Force Base to Annapolis.