Friday, October 23, 2009

Race Across The Sky

L and I went to the movie "Race Across The Sky " last night at the Harbor theater. It's about this year's Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race in Leadville, Colorado. It's been a cult classic event since 1994, but now guys like Lance Armstrong are riding it and bring more wide spread notariaty to the race. This will probably make it harder to get in in the coming years, seeing that they limit it to @1400 entrants via a lottery system. Too bad for some, but at least being a "name" doesn't mean you will get in. 6 time champ David Wiens, a long time top mtb pro, didn't get i the first couple of years he tried. Only Tour De France winners are automatics.

The movie started with a panel discussion featuring Lance, Travis Brown, David Wiens, Chris Carmicheal, Matt Shriver, Ken Choulber (who organizes the event) and moderator Dave Towle. It did add a little back ground and gave Lance a chance to explain why he was doing the race and what it meant to him. He said he was more nervous at the start of Leadville than at the Tour De France.

The movie itself featured a lot of Lance, some human interest stories, fantastic camera work, and good narration by Bob Roll. With 14,000 feet of climbing, all of it from above 9000 feet of elevation, it's one epic challenge. The biggest challenge Lance faced was a flat tire with about 7 miles to go. He couldn't figure out how to fix it, being a tubeless and all, so he road it to the finish flat. Lucky it was on the back. He held off Wiens and won in record time. He said one of the reasons he rode so hard was to stay warm, as it was very cold. Many of the slower riders had to tough it out in rain and sleet. They were suffering, but all looked to really enjoy the pain. I felt bad for those that missed the first time cut, such as a guy who had 2 new knees and trained very hard, but just missed it. That would suck. One strange thing was Travis Brown's bike - a 26er with drop bars, ala John Tomac.

All and all, I really enjoyed the show, as did L. She just started to ride a bike again, and was fascinated with the movie. It showed the human side of bike racing from all types of riders.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A New Page

A couple of mile stones this weekend. First, L and I decided to get married. Not right now, but probably in a year or so down the line. I sold my spare road bike and used the proceeds to get her a nice ring. Nothing gaudy, just a small diamond in a classy setting. Funny how the economy has even hit the jewelry market. I purchased it at a fraction of what it would have cost a year and a half ago. Funny how things change. A few months ago, I vowed I would never tie the knot again. She said the same. The fact that neither of us is working full time right now has left us a lot of opportunity to get to know each other in a relatively short space of time. It's been great!

The second thing is she decided she wanted to go for a bike ride with me. She hasn't been on a bicycle since the 7th grade and wasn't sure about how she would do. So, she borrowed a bike from her friend and we headed down the Munger Trail out of Carlton this afternoon. We rode 6 miles with no problems. She seemed to really enjoy it and wants to go out again tomorrow. If this keeps up, we'll have to get her her own rig and some clothes. But first, lets see if she continues to enjoy it. More on that after a few more trips.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Training Block

I started a new Polar heart rate based training block yesterday. It's mainly to keep up the off season fitness on the bike. The rides are short enough to do indoors on a trainer if the weather is too nasty for all but the most dedicated year around riders. Folks like Doug, Jeff, Charlie, and rest of you out there know who you are. It will probably take me a few rides to get acclimated and today was a better than yesterday. Nothing got cold or even uncomfortable. Yes, it was a balmy 35 degrees, so one shouldn't get chilled. As they say, "man's game".

Speaking of winter riding, Walmart carries studded MTB tires. First, carbon bottle cages, now studded tires. Who'd a thunk it? BTW, the Bell carbon bottle cages are as good as I've used, and are now under $20.00. What will they off next? A full carbon framed bike? Actually, they do. Special order only, of course. Weird. But, at least they recognize the bike culture and are offering some better products. I doubt that they will rattle up the real bike shops. At least I hope not.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Notes of Disintrest

The weather has just been rotten. No other word for it. A rainy, cold, windy weather pattern has taken over. So, just as Charlie squats in the bush, getting stronger, so must we. Cold weather gear comes out of the closet, drawer. corner, what have you, and the warm weather kit gets washed and put away. Indian summer may make an appearance, but this cannot be relied upon. Let's get ready for the season, what ever it my bring.

What do you use for chamois cream? Assos? DZ Nutz ? There are a ton out there, none cheap. If you don't use one and ride for more than a hour, you really should try it. Chamois cream changes everything. Why do I bring this up, you ask? Well, I've found a great, inexpensive substitute for the expensive, purpose dedicated brands. Udderly Smooth foot cream works just as well and is cheap. Under three bucks a tube. And, it works on feet better than anything else I have tried. L runs around bare footed most of the time, as a result her feet get rough and dry. After nightly massages with Udderly Smooth, they feel like new.

Speaking of chamois', The Castelli bib knicks I've been using have Castelli's KISS padding. If seemed it would be too thin, but after two long rides, not so. No discomfort or pressure spots at all. Chamois' have come along ways over the old leather we used to rock.

The Polar heart rate training block is over. I feel stronger than a few weeks ago, even though the average speeds of rides is down a bit. That's due to the warm up and cool down fazes of the daily program. One thing for sure, I can ride at a higher cadence for longer than ever. Well, in the last few years, not like when I was a lad. Those days are over, never to be recaptured. That's a fact o aging. But, with smarter, no necessarily harder work, we can get some back. That's my goal.