Well, so far, so good --- the efforts of the previous couple weeks are beginning to show a little. I took the "hey, look how much I weigh!" counter off the webpage, but I'm happy to report positive progress towards the lower 180's.... another couple weeks of persistence and the previous posts' realizations should only help things. Un-official goal is to get firmly back into the 170's before the official Spring Brevet Series begins.
That reminds me: You interested in life after 100 miles? Wonder what a "brevet" is? Racers? Want to build a wicked base for the late Spring '09 crits? Email me and I'll give you the low-down. Also, check out the Randonneurs USA website for a LOT of detail, and official rules for riders. Further, there is this really good blog post from a relative new-comer to the sport, with some terrific insight. the Kansas City Ultra-Cycling club would LOVE to have you try out a 200K this coming March. Details to follow -- the first brevet of 2009 for the KC club is set for March 28th
So, yesterday, inauguration day for Obama -- a great day to be an American on a bicycle, IMHO. So, I mounted up, hit the bus stop -- all part of my new revelation on training, etc. Facing 11 miles of wicked north winds just didn't sound like a good way to kee pmy mental game sharp, so I used the bus in the morning. Saw Clem on the bus, jamming out - we talked a little about gloves and socks, and then went back into easing into our days with some tunes... I was enjoying a little "Cut Chemist" in my headphones... on a very low volume, ya know. As part of my winter motivational package, I've taken to using the headphones while riding. It's helped tremendously: while the music is at such a low volume it simply fades into the background where it should be, the subtle beats underneath the wind noise helps keep my mind on the task at hand, instead of on the weather, how cold my toes are, etc. Safety FIRST, however. I have the volume on notch #1 on my phone/MP3 player. To the point where I can't even discern lyrics until I reach a stopsign or something. I can hear cars approaching from the rear just fine. Sidestreets, just fine, too. Cyclists on the trail passing me? Yup. "On your left" is nice and clear. If your iPOD or whatever is any louder than that if you happen to wear one while riding, you're stupid. Sorry. You are.
That was really an issue yesterday, keeping my mind off things: I dressed for LATER in the day, knowing the bus stop was only a few miles from the house. The forecast high was in the upper 30's which is practically SUMMER weather compared to what's been happening here in Kansas lately. So, I dressed for the afternoon, designed to suffer a tiny bit in the morning. Unfortunately, the sun never came out, the clouds were thick, and the flurries were consistent. What the??? When I left the house it was 26ºF. When I left work in the afternoon, it was 24ºF. WTF??? Seriously?
Okay, whatever. Ride. At least there is a tailwind, right? Well, sorta.... NW wind generally equals a headwind if I'm headed west, which I was for a large portion of the ride. A single layer of wool socks and sandals with a 24 degree temperature and 15 MPH NW winds... well, that equals COLD TOES. At least for a while... eventually they were numb. Hey, at least I have tunes.
What I did enjoy was the bike trail. Shielded from the wind a little, but also shielded from the sunshine that would have melted a lot of the ice that accumulated last week, it was a mixed bag of fun-ness. This is where I smiled at my choice of building up a beater mountain bike for this time of year. Where the trail was sheer ice, I hit the grass... granted the Kogs would probably do okay on the grass, but I didn't have to worry as much about chuck-holes and divots, not to mention the harder patches of frozen grass and dirt. It was cool, FUN -- reinforced my new discovery that 24-Hour Mountain Bike racing is absolutely the hardest thing someone could probably do on a bicycle. Just in four or five short miles of "off road", I was pretty well shaken - not stirred. Mine's a hard-tail, rigid fork -- so, yeah, the suspension is the tires and my body... but DANG. That was hard work, especially with the fixed gear. Got my heart-rate up, that's for sure! What's REALLY cool is riding along on my way home, seeing an obstacle, and thinking "ah, whatever... roll right over it/through it." It's a lot of fun, and challenging for someone like me that's pretty much be glued to the pavement my entire cycling life. will I be rushing out to get a dual suspension XC bike, and start looking for 12-hour races? Errrr.... not yet. Ever? Can't rule it out.
In the shorter-term... yeah, January is nearly over. Yeeeeesh. That means February is nearly here... and there's only 28 days to get a 200K in... #1, it's fun. #2, it's something that will keep my streak alive should I decide in June to keep going towards R-12 Number Dos. Not a guarantee... but it will prevent me from starting over in March, for example -- I'll be one month up on it. No promises... that verdict is still out, but I shouldn't just say "NO" to something that I have a genuinely good time doing. Between now and then, I need to stay focused on shorter, harder stuff to make sure my weight loss plan takes a front seat to any secondary goals. Right now, getting into the 170's again is my sole purpose...
More to come!