February 16, 2007

Don't fool with mother nature.

Training plan..... check.
Mileage goals.... check.
Diet plan in place..... check.

Alright! Spring is coming, mid 50's in the forecast for next week -- you got this one in the bag, eh, Dude? Don't ya? Yeah.... helll, yeah....

You ain't got CRAP figured out, sit down!

Flu, baby! IN-FLU-ENZA, baby! That's right, lay down and don't do NUTHIN', boyee!
I got you now. Sucka.

Now, I don't know exactly when Ice Cube and Mother Nature melded into one central character, but that how my brain works. Ice Cube is back, 6'2" with a fly doo and bright blue kicks standing over my shriveled corpse, laughing meniachally while polishing the GSR off his gat.
Boom, beotch, you got the flu now. Stay down, honky.

So, I took a few moments out of my haze, brought to you by Nyquil, Tamiflu, Mucinex, Tylenol, Advil and Sudafed -- hey, we fight hard -- to type a few words of discouragement to the blog universe. While outside, new snow falls and re-coats the roadways and sorta solidifies that whole "you ain't riding SHEET, homes", feeling I've got. Whooo.

Gimme about five days, and we'll be toe-to-toe with Ice Cube, readdy to put the smack down on any more illnesses and get back in the saddle. Ta-dow!

Alright, seriously: don't fool with mutha nat-chuuh, ho.
If I was ACTUALLY toe-to-toe with Ice Cube, I'd scream like a little girl and ask for an autograph. He could bitch-slap me and I wouldn't mind.

Yes, sir, I'll lay back down. Sorry. Clutching my signed copy of Straight Outta Compton, and that rare hidden track, "F* your immune system."

I'm gonna go back to bed now.

February 13, 2007

Weak three, street-walker!

Week three draws to a close, and I’m really starting to see and feel some results from the changes made to my attitude, spirit, and training style so far --- they say it takes at least two weeks to begin to see changes, and it’s true. So, if you’re out there trying something new and getting discouraged, keep at it!
Anyways, for me, the yoga is helping tremendously with flexibility, extending my usable range of motion, my balance on the bike, and has released the tension in my shoulders and face while I ride. This has resulted in far less fatigue than I remember from indoor training sessions – and the TdF videos are surely helping that solution as well, as the hours (yes, hours!) are flying by as if I was only doing a quick 30 minute session. This is a good thing, because the road conditions and weather have been less than stellar this winter, especially compared to the easy time we had here last year. The road flat suck right now – snow pack and sleet underneath this morning. Last week was barely better, a roller coaster of temperatures and weird precip. Week three, after training indoors, has begun to produce some positive motion in the speed department – even though that is not the goal yet. Pathetic as it sounds if looked at with a REAL racer’s point-of-view, I finally have re-emerged into the 15’s for average speeds on the TOTAL days commute, where last week I was languishing in the 14’s. Last month I was lucky to average out of the 13’s, seriously. My fitness was completely flushed since the injury in October – and compared to year’s past, there was not much fitness there to begin with, even though I was consistently averaging in the 20’s during the Saturday Casey’s runs over in Grandview, one day in the low 22’s! It’s amazing how fast you lose it. Now, however, the numbers are beginning to creep up – which on a commute is amazing in itself, with regards to traffic, hills and the desire to be less-than-sloppy upon arrival at the office. It’s hard to speed-train and keep the stank at bay, ya know. Funk! Whooooo! Wait until August, beotches. Riding consistently in the house at night, however, with the motivation from the Tour DVDs, I can feel it in the hills on the real roads during the days I am able to ride in. The cadence is coming up, the breathing coming down, and the pain is minimizing. Helping all of that is consistent weight loss, as well – while I’ve only been on this new plan for 12 days, I have already lost my first 6 pounds! Before long, I’ll be able to kiss the 170’s goodbye for good – well, at least until the pumpkin pies come back out next November. If all goes to plan, I’ll have reason to indulge a little. I miss pie, and beer, and rifling thru a bag of chips – well, maybe not that last part. I like fitting into my pants and being able to see my feet better than I like chips. This year, in October, at the Tejas 500 start-line photo maybe I’ll look like I belong in that elite group. It was bad enough that I rode the ride like a club-racer wannabe, but to LOOK like a middle-aged pretender that stretched himself into the only jersey that still fit and planned on riding 500 miles in less than 48 hours? I looked a little out of place next to those that would spend that same 48 hours breaking records! One guy in his mid-50’s finished in 29 freaking hours. It’s time to get serious, or it’s time to save the entry fee and just be a pretender at the local training ride. I’m not dead yet – it’s time to get real. Week three in the bag, and I feel REALLY good about the direction things are taking… unfortunately, the weather still refuses to cooperate – and again as I type this the roads are horrid, and the temperatures will be in the single digits for the evenings. So, another week of getting my base mileage in front of a television… sure beats riding the couch and feeling bad about it, like last winter!
Let’s get this season started already!

A few quick thanks: Scott Matthauser, for at least mainstreaming the advent of iron oxide impregnated brake pads, and thanks to Kool Stop for still offering the salmon-colored beauties for road bikes. Otherwise, I’d be typing this from a laptop in the recovery room of a local hospital after having careened over the top of a Pontiac G6 sedan that turned in-front of me last night on 123rd St near Antioch in the rain. Whew! I love it when things work.

Also thanks – and HURRY UP – to the city over Overland Park, Kansas for announcing the construction of a new overpass for Us-69 at 132nd street, which should break ground later this year. That will finally get me AWAY from 123rd and Antioch, which continues to be the high-point of my day. Kinda like getting a root canal without novacaine is the high-point of my day. Yeah. I mean, you’d think there was only ONE way for all these people to get over the highway….. oh, yeah, that IS the only way. Nevermind.

By the way… we got Death Star.

Brings me to the LINK-o-the-week: http://www.atomfilms.com/af/content/gangsta_rap_se
Enjoy, freaks. Stay tuned for week FORE! Four. Whatever.

February 5, 2007

Week Two - 2007

Week Two came to an end last night in the saddle of the Cannondale inside the relative warm comfort of the basement exercise area, with the bluish light of the TV painting images of the 2001 Tour De France across my eyes while I pedaled. Eight miles was all I needed to round out the week’s mileage goal, and with the temperature outside in the low teens, it just wasn’t worth suiting up for. I despise training inside, but the visual motivation and constant Phil & Paul commentary helped pass the time, while my extra wireless computer on the rear wheel clicked off the miles. This might be worthwhile, after all! Pedaling along with Beloki and Francios Simon while they pursue Armstrong certainly is better than staring at the walls or listening to music. I play Ullrich, jersey unzipped and jaw agape for air on the long col. I reach down and add more resistance to the trainer.

Freshly cleaned up, barely touched since October, the Cannondale was gleaming happy below me, fresh lube sklooshing past shiny chainwheels, and taut cables flicking smartly with each gear change as we climbed to the ski station atop Pla d' Adet. It was a time of forgiveness for the Cannondale and I, as I wiped clean the whitish gritty film left over from passing over wet pavement near the cement plant on the loop at Tejas. Wiping off the pedals, re-lubing cables and pivots, pressing air back into long neglected tires; with each polishing stroke, I wiped away the pain, the hardships of the ankle injury, and the tarnish of a season ended short. Mounting up, all indications of mal-adjustment were absent, knees meeting just shy of elbows in the drops, and ankles pulsing properly – nothing over, or under, extended. Only a half-hours task, but enough to feel that this is a very different bicycle than the one I’d ridden in October. As if anxious to prove itself to me, the shifting was crisp, the saddle forgiving, and the handlebars felt like home.

It was a rough week; Monday proved cold – but serviceable, Wednesday proved a serious challenge in varying states of traction and harsh winds and snowfall, and Friday with its torrent of hard headwinds no easier. It was good to be inside – and with a differing outlook compared to last week, I was feeling purposeful on the stationary trainer, instead of feeling tasked with the impossible like in year’s past. My arms are changing, my midsection still needs work but feels better than usual – more engaged – and my legs feel as if they are holding back, ready to snap into a heated sprint… is that the Warbird I see on the horizon??? With focus and purpose, I up the tempo as Armstrong breaks Jalabert’s grip in the last 5km of the climb.

In only four short weeks, February will be gone and the first brevet will be looming. The 200K, hopefully with the promise of warmer temperatures, will set the stage for the entire rest of the year. The cardio base will nearly be complete, and the slow steady rise to “fast” will begin. Two weeks later, the 200K in Liberty will begin the hill-climbing training in earnest, and consequently build strength and speed with it.
After that, the controlled excitement of a tailwind from Liberty to Albany on the 300K, and the long slog back south – my favorite brevet of the series; long enough to be seriously challenging, but still only taking one day – and a steady stream of hills and good scenery. That and the mystery of April in eastern Kansas – it could be cold, hot, windy or calm, dry or soaking wet. In two barely months time I will set the stage for the entire season, and set my gaze long towards Tejas 2007, and redemption.

These thoughts flash past my mind as I fly free to the finish line, prompted on by Phil Liggett’s cries of exaltation and the roar of the fans lining the streets. Yes, a short training session – but all big things must begin small. Week three begins tomorrow, and the weather doesn’t look good – at all. Mentions of freezing rain, flurries, and roller coaster temps are making it hard to keep the motivation high – but my eyes are on the prize, and if I have to do it indoors, so be it.
Stay tuned!