Sunday, April 15, 2007

Base Miles, Head Wind

I got on the bike today as promised and put in some base miles, something that was much needed. Lately I've been going out and hammering on my workouts because of limited time, or other commitments later on in the day that conflict with my desire to sleep in until 10 or 11 before riding. My plan for this ride was to start accumulating base miles in zone 2 and 3, and spend minimal time in zones 4 and 5. To my surprise, I actually stuck to it.

Today I was up at 7 a.m. to meet with some old TNT friends for a good ride. I like getting on the bike that early, but I like to sleep too, but since these guys like to ride early I made a sacrifice; it was well worth it. The guys I rode with today are great guys, and I forgot how much I enjoy their company. It's good to have people to talk with when you ride. Especially when two out of the 5 are hilarious and the other two are Lawyers. When I was younger I was the scrawny kid people picked on. later in life I got big scary looking friends, which gave me the right to talk shit and cause trouble, which I did plenty of. Riding with Lawyers is kind of the same thing. You can talk shit to drivers as the cut you off and disrespect you because you're on a bike knowing that if an altercation ensues you have a lawyer there, ready to go! The funny guys are great to have around because, well, they're funny. Now that I think about it, everyone on the ride is pretty funny in their own way. There was limited interaction with shithole drivers today, and all in all it was just a great ride. Great weather, great conversation (albeit at some points i was notified of information that I could have done without) great base mileage pace, and a great route, the only thing missing was a great beer at the end but oh well.

We started the ride doing my standard route, starting at Griffith Park and going around the studios. We caught the bike path at Riverside dr. and took that to Fletcher, turned onto Riverside and headed back to Griffith Park. I was able to maintain a heart rate of 125-135 through this, although on Forest Lawn I did kick it up to 150. We dropped one of our guys at Griffith Park (he had family obligations and a bum knee) took a piss break and rolled out again. Heading up to Glenoaks you could see that there was weather rolling in. It had rained the night before so I assumed it was left over weather from last nights storm. When we turned onto Glenoaks we were immediately greeted by a 25-30 mile/hour head wind. Awesome. Headwinds are the most demoralizing weather phenomenon for cyclists. My heart rate was between 135-140 the whole time on Glenoaks and I was hardly moving. I would rather ride in freezing rain than a headwind, although it would be realized later that our fortunes would change and struggling through the headwind would be worth it.

Glenoaks runs East to West, and La Tuna runs basically East to West as well, so when we made the turn to get onto La Tuna we had the wind at our back. Aaaaahhh salvation. I was able to big ring the climb thanks to the tail wind. I kept my cadence between 45-50 rpm's and my heart rate was 170-180. Normally La Tuna can be a bit miserable, you can always count on it being hot and windy. Today, because it was pretty chilly due to the rain, the heat was good and of course the wind for once was going in the right direction. I turned around at the top of the climb, descended to about the half way point to find one of the guys from our group. I stopped and did the climb again with him. Climbing by yourself can be a bummer, having some one with you to chat with up the climb is always a plus.

For those that have climbed La Tuna before you are aware of the pay off. For those that haven't let me explain. The back side of La Tuna is a short, steep descent. 45 mph is an easy target. When your done with that descent, you get to descend more, down Honolulu, down Pennsylvania, down Verdugo, down Glenoaks, down down down down all the way to Griffith Park. And then your done. Average speed for the second part of the ride should never be below 25 mph. All in all it was a great day. I couldn't have asked for a better day of riding and a better group of guys to ride with. I look forward to riding with those guys again.
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Monday, April 9, 2007

Sideburns. A must have for the properly groomed male cyclist.

I was thinking back to a recent club meeting as I was looking at the pictures on our website from previous races and I realized a disturbing trend. When we cyclists (specifically male cyclists) are on the bike we look fine. We have our shorts on, jersey's, helmets, sunglasses ect. But things change when we get off the bike. Things change and it's not pretty. It's no secret that cyclists, and athletes in general, sport some blatant and strange tan lines. These tan lines include the obvious and socially acceptable tan lines caused by jerseys and shorts, to the more sinister tan lines caused by socks, watches and Livestrong bracelets to the down right annoying tan lines caused by gloves. I for one don't wear gloves when I ride, so to avoid wearing "pasty skin colored" gloves when I'm off the bike. The most pervasive tan lines though are the ones on the head. Tan lines caused by sunglasses are bad, but skiing has become such a popular sport that sunglass tan lines have become fairly well accepted in almost all social circles. The head tan line that I think is the worst, and I didn't realized this until I was surrounded by PAA members, is the helmet strap tan line.

Tan Lines 2 A supurb (albeit small)example of helmet strap tan line.

Aaahahh yes, the helmet strap tan line, God's cynical gift to those that choose unmotorized two wheeled vehicles as a means of transportation/sport. If you are eternally youthful and unable to grow thick, bushy facial hair you have some choices:

A: you can be eternally damned with this blasphemous tan line or

2: you can ask for permanent brain damage by not riding with a helmet because you 're sooooo 1970's euro. or

iii: you can wear lot's of sunscreen and look like a geisha.

If you are blessed (or cursed, depending on how you look at it) with thick, full, groves of facial hair I recommend growing full, jaw length sideburns.

I've never realized the personal nightmare caused by helmet strap tan line because I've always rocked this fashionable side burn style. I've watched with sorrow and pity as friends of mine are pointed out and laughed at because of this tragedy, only to pray too late that I could have done something to prevent this. Well now I am. Avoid this tragic mishap. If you ride a bike, value your brain, and can grow sideburns do yourself this favor: grow sideburns. Other facial hair styles that can avert this problem are the mutton chop or the full beard. I recommend any of the three.

If you can't, wear lot's of sunscreen. You'll save all of us a lot of pain and suffering. Read more!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Why am I such a jock?

Remember that guy you went to college with who used to go to parties and get really drunk and loud and want to fight everybody? I'm that guy. Or at least I feel like that when I get on my bike. Every time I go out and ride I just can't leave it alone, I see someone way out in front of me and I have to chase them down. I HAVE TO!!! I'm like a dog that only knows one trick. When I catch up I'm so spent usually that I just cut my workout time in half. Then all I can do is sit on the poor guys wheel for a while to rest up. Well, at least I still got an hour and a half in. I rode around Griffith Park, the studios and up and down Trash Can Hill twice. It was a good work out. good and fast. So much for taking it easy. Read more!

Lazy Sunday

When I say Sunday I mean the whole last week. I made a decision to put of the intense training for 2008 until July due to this imaginary time line I have in my head. Until then I decided that I would keep doing relatively the same amount of miles while slowly picking up the intensity each week. This means about 45-55 miles every saturday, 20 on sunday, and 15-20 periodically through out the week. After making this decision I sat my ass down on the couch and watched some TV. then I got up and made myself a drink. Vodka. I recommend it for anyone trying to numb the pain of failure caused by laziness. I tried to get on the bike Monday and Tuesday but just couldn't. I tried yesterday too but for some reason couldn't then either. I WILL get on the bike today, but my usual ride up and around the hills above the Rose Bowl just isn't going to happen. Maybe I'll go do Griffith Park or something. Then after that I think I'll go polish off the rest of that Kettle One vodka I have, so it won't tempt me any more. Better go get some cranberry juice. Read more!