Monday, July 20, 2009

Running and Real Ale

Those are two components of this Monday evening. Running first. Trying to work that back into my life despite my body's frequent and seemingly well founded objections.

Later a trip to Central Market due to the request of a certain prominent female. I spent way too much time in the beer aisle and eventually bought a pack of Real Ale's Rio Blanco Pale Ale to go with a variety of food purchased from the CM Deli, one of her favorite stop-offs.

I liked it just fine, she found it to be s0-so. I think a bottle of this would get higher marks from her in January. My labrador retriever was intrigued, which is generally a good sign. Dog knows her beer it seems. Open a bottle of something decent and she is instantly inquisitive, looking to see if it will be shared.

The weekend provided some nice riding including the always enjoyable Kelly Road loop. A small group of us ventured out and did the clockwise version--through the parks by Lake Benbrook, across and out McDaniel Road, up Kelly and then onto Aledo and back into FW.
Low traffic, some pleasant scenary and terrain as challenging as you wish to make it. Good way to spend a few hours for sure.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


And nothing really special. Went for a nice evening ride, headed south down the Trinity River Trail and saw and interesting site at the river crossing by Highway 183, where the trail jumps over to Bellaire Drive. These coordinates will get you there, or plug them into google maps for an exciting satellite view if you feel intrigued.(32.697480, -97.421715)
Apparently the water found an alternate route downstream. Instead of going through the chute engineered into the concrete dam/crossing it appears to have worked a channel under the dam, or at least below the spillway. End result is a big stinky mudflat for the bulk of the upstream side, with a nice little whirlpool feeding down through the channel. There was a Danger sign posted stating one should not swim or wade, that maintenance is underway. Not sure about the maintenance, but it won't take a sign to discourage me from trying to cool off in that slop. Reminded me of low tide in the salt marshes in the summer.
Wish I would have had a camera to snap a shot of that.

Rest of the evening was less exciting, just hot and dry, nice southerly wind blowing...groundhog day ala Fort Worth Summer 2009.
I rode around a while then hit the hills around the Overton Park neighborhoods for the training part of the ride. Like that area. Nice little short steep hills guaranteed to jack up the heart rate if desired. Low traffic, plenty of shade from the big trees...always a nice loop to roll through. After that, back up Park Hill, down Rogers Road (another little section I love) and back across the river to head home for some cold water and a cold beer.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Talk about a different time...but I'll take the heat over the snow just about any day.

Little recap, what did today bring at me...

Tour de France excitement, sort of...

Contador putting a little move in? Part of the ochestrated plan? Who knows. I don't think Astana would have been real excited to have the Yellow on this early. Bet the boys in blue would love defending that through all of the stages in the Pyrenees and Alps. Definitely interesting to see how it unfolds. Astana 1-2-3 podium in Paris? Who cares?


At least the reported air quality wasn't too bad.

I went out and ran just to mix things up for a change. Gotta try and keep some balance with the muscles, or at least try. It was short and left me soaked.

Bike stuff:

Got one of these stashed away, my first "real" road bike. Got it from a guy I worked with, actually too big for me. Nice steel lugged frame. Interestingly my fork is painted but appears to have a polished chrome fork under the paint, have to look into that and see what the deal is. I know the fork is original. Maybe they just had them all polished and painted some? Long ago I almost stripped the paint since there were a lot of chips already, now glad I didn't.

WNC Controversy:

(under WNC B race, not sure how to link it exactly)

Glad I get the pleasure of avoiding that mayhem. Seems the B's have the most issues. Maybe due to having the biggest numbers? Hmmm...statistics at work? Could be.

Regardless, it is for fun. Hate to see the promoter dealing with a lot of trivial (in my opinion of course!) issues. Not like there is big money or prestige on the line. Its a training race and supposed to be fun, and the area is fortunate to have something like this and others over in Dallastown.

Weekend has launched. Cheers!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

WNC fun

Wednesday Night Crit time. Headed out to the Resource Center/Complex or whatever it's official nameis for a little training crit time.

I got a late start, got there with enough time to spin a couple laps in an attempt to warm up and get ready for the high pace to shortly ensue.

Warming up in a thermal context was no problem as temps. had reached a comfortable 100+ level. Fortunately a nice southerly wind kicked in to add some cooling. (insert sarcasm into the preceding)
A t-storm blew up of to the northeast and cruised by to the east, providing nothing but some good gusts, at most.

Promoter Andy Hollinger announced they would offer a prime on every lap tonight. Oh, great I think, that should allow some time for me to warm up in the first few laps of the race, as crits are always pretty slow to start and the primes will surely help keep the group cohesive. (insert heavier sarcasm here)

In perfect compliance with Murphy's Law, the race started fast, really fast, or so my legs told me. I settled in to hide from the wind and survive until the system settled into a groove and the pace dropped. Or so I thought. About 3 or so laps in I find myself at third or fourth wheel into a strong headwind. Pace kicks up, I shift into a heavier gear accordingly. Or my hands go through the motion but the bike doesn't respond. I fiddle the shifter a little, finally clicking in another gear--and again with no response. At this point I am turning some serious RPMs to try and keep the pace but a gap is starting to open up between my front wheel and the rear wheel in front, where the blessed draft zone awaits. Not good. I shift again, and maybe again. This time there is a response, in the form of a double or triple shift. I bottom out as the rpms drop precipitiously and try shifting into a bigger cog to ease off and get nothing. Seeing the gap beginning to stretch I do the only thing I can and pull off before I gap off the group behind me, drift to the back and slowly drift My heart rate is high at this point from the last roller coaster of a minute, and I finally get into an acceptable gear and try to get back on, but the wind is in my face and the gap is quickly stretching. Soon after I begin to blow up and realize that, horrors of horrors, I have been dropped like a cigarette butt. And I am not getting back on. Pull off and decided that my fate is sealed, so might as well try and adjust the cable tension to see if that can help work out the sudden shifting dilema, then jump back in for a nice time trial session. I twist the barrel adjuster a bit after giving the cable a solid tug and the shifting seems fine of course. Hop back out and begin to cruise. After a few slow solo laps I see the pack closing in from behind, so I slow further, get lapped and jump back, solidifying my position out of contention. Spend the rest of the race cruising slower then accelerating for each prime as we hit the start/finish. The same thing ensues lap after remaining lap until I watch the race end from the back of the pack. Cruise around another lap or two to cool down, pack the bike and head home.

Not exactly a susccesful evening but still fun, as it should be. It should be noted that the shifting on my bike was essentially flawless the rest of the night.

So Wednesday is in the bag, thankfully, roaring failure that it was. Still got a good ride in either way, which is what matters in the end.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Holiday recap

The fourth of July (long) weekend was good. I did a lot of riding with a lot of different people in a few different places. Consistently different.

Of note, a trip--my first--down to what is apparently considered the northern edge of the Texas Hill Country. Granbury Texas, more specifically. Spent a few hours with some other riders in the know, cruising through the beautiful hills southwest of Granbury. Definitely more vertical variation than found in the FtW vicinity. We rode around several roads whose names I don't recall, dealing with a steady wind that helped add a little more difficulty to the rises encountered. Of course it was hot too.

The roads were generally empty and the ride enjoyable. I can see that from the road race training perspective, a solid day in this country could be a very good thing, so I may have to make a trip or two back down with that goal in mind. Whatever the reason, I look forward to going back, and would certainly recommend it. Only downside is, unless you want to do some serious mileage cramming, it requires driving. So it goes sometimes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Not so hot, plus a little time behind the pulpit

Nice little changeup today, temps actually struggled to reach 90, if they even did. Rain in the area and the clouds that go with it helped keep things cool, and a nice northerly wind was a change from the Mexican furnace blast we have seen the past week.

So I hit a nice ride tonight, did some "serious" training (meaning I didn't just go ride around for a couple hours) to try and strengthen a few of the many weaknesses, and generally had a good time of it.

One thing I noticed that irked me. Lots of others out riding tonight. That is a good thing. Bad thing is that of the 20+ people I encountered on bikes at intersections with a STOP sign, I was the only one to actually abide. So whats up with that? For all the griping I hear about cyclists wanting to share the road and having to tolerate idiot auto drivers I would think a few more people might actually follow the rules of the road.

It is a bad sign when I appear to be the most law abiding one out there. Don't get me wrong, I know the temptation, but really, is it that hard to stop? No. What, you don't want to lose momentum? If you are that lazy then maybe you shouldn't ride a bike, or perhaps you need to ride it a lot more to gain the strength for the stop and go riding required in a city. Is it really going to disrupt your training plan that much? Are you really that good that it matters?

Hey, don't want to stop, thats your call. But don't even think about complaining about other's driving/cycling/jogging etc. If for no other reason, perception should drive us to obey the laws on the road, much as I hate the perception-is-reality point of view. We are our own worst enemies I think sometimes. don't go expecting a lot of respect from the rest of the world if we are perceived as road users who don't feel we need to share the road, obey traffic laws, not litter etc. Too bad I have seen this all to often from my brothers of the bike. And lets face it, it is a hobby. A sport. We do it for fun. Not too many of us have gotten paid for riding a bike. I know the money I have spent on this hobby far surpasses my winnings to date.

So here is my idea, lets lose the self riteous "I am on a bike and therefore own the road" attitude, ya bunch of asshats.

Ok, enough ranting. I really did have a nice ride. And I even stopped at every stop sign.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


This is what was reporting upon my return from a 2.5 hr ride. Didn't really need a website to tell me this. I ran out of water about 30 minutes out and was suffering before that really. Heading out on the road at noon is not a great idea, and the heat got to me today. The amount of salt on my face was impressive. I rode hard as was the plan, and got the goosebumps a few times, a good warning not to mess around too much.
I checked my weight and figured I lost at least 6-7 pounds of water weight over the course of the ride. It was still fun, all things considered. And there weren't a lot of people out so I had the roads and trails basically to myself as an added bonus.