Monday, March 31, 2008

Training Week 8: 40 Miles around the Res

Taking a photo of myself before the ride. Didn't freak the camera, anyway.

Back to work! This time it is a Ride Around the Res--at Wachusett, MA. 40 miles were on the agenda, and 41.04 were my count on the bike computer by the time we got back. Lovely day, and I had no trouble at all getting up Rt 111 at the start. Must be those new vitamins. :-) Or maybe it was the pleasant and brave company of NH Coach Don Lamothe and Danielle Miller. Great to see both of them again!

Here's Danielle's happy face before the ride.

Anyway, I know better what I'm doing now, so I can get up a hill if I have to. And with last week's skiing foray, I seem to have my legs under me, and standing is no longer a viable option, except if my butt gets sore.
Here we are at the start, not a bad-sized group with about 15 participants.
Some got past me before I could get the camera out.

We got out to nice sunny start, even though it looks warmer in these pics than it was. The chill didn't bother us once we got going up the Rt 111 hill, and the wind was very kind this week. Last week's ride, I'm told, was badly assailed by gusts. I wouldn't know. I was up Sugarloaf Mountain in 30-mph winds, on skis.

Our first stop at Clinton, MA, 12 miles along.

We look a little colder in the 12-mile stop at Clinton, but the sun was very nice. My blood meter got a little cold sitting on my shoulder the way I had it, so my checks didn't make much sense. I might have been a little high, but I didn't notice any problems physically.

Well, folks, the Res was beautiful, and just to prove it I'm going to have to go out there another sunny day to get some photos. We were moving so well, I didn't stop for a single shot. Guess I have MY priorities straight, but that doesn't do the gentle reader any good, does it?

When we got back to Boxborough, no one wanted a group photo. Maybe the ride left people feeling a little pressed, or just hungry. I'll say it was fun to sit down and snog pizza and pop for an hour, just to go over everything and swap a few stories with the northern crew. I hope we're having this much fun when we get up to NH for a mini-Tahoe around Franconia Notch in a couple-three weeks! Bad weather's already aloft for Saturday again. (Who knew?) But I'll be sure to get some hill climbing in this week!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Training Week 7: Gone Skiing

Well, I suppose it had to happen once this year that I miss a bike training session, but I had two issues: My roadie needed a tune-up, and I needed to get up north at least once this year to do some downhill skiing. So I dealt with those two issues by driving my friend John up to Sugarloaf in Maine, and trying out the huge slopes.

I took the camera along, but didn't bother to snap a single photo. Not that either of us is that much to look at :-) but the weather and the snow were striking. Maybe the best I've ever been on. The only problem was wind at the summit, which kept some of the lifts off-line for part of the time. 40-50mph and gusting, you could see it blowing clouds over the peak from anywhere in the area. Should have taken some short movies of it with commentary. It was really movin'.

So were we! I wore my quads down to the femurs over the two days, and had a lot of fun. Wish I could have taken a whole crew up with us! There was plenty of open space and wide, wide trails barely being used. It was cold all right, but it's snow, you know? And evidently it was enough training (cross-training anyway) that I didn't lose any conditioning for my next training ride.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Training Week 6: 03/16/2008 Sunday Again!

Well, we actually got snowed out again early Saturday morning, but this time we were ready with a Sunday ride of about 30 miles. While the weather wasn't a factor, we didn't have much sun, and the Boxborough-Littleton-Harvard ramble we took turned out to be good conditioning for the cool weather we'll see early in the day at Tahoe. The crew included some of the New Hampshire team, with Bruce, Sue, Ann, and Dave joining us for the first time. The ride really didn't take all that long, and this time Martina passed me up on the hill into Harvard Center.

My trip down the Rt 111 hill back into Boxborough resulted in another shimmy, but this one was self-induced, as my pecks were too tight coming down the hill. The instability vanished when I relaxed them. My top speed was only 30 mph this time, so the problem I had last week is indeed solved. Now it is just a matter of getting relaxed again and trusting the equipment on the downhills.

Some day we may even get to work out on a Saturday, but for now, at least we are outside every week. For other photos of this ride and the training crew, see my Picasa2 album at this link.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Training Week 5: 03/09/2008 Cycling outdoors!

Note: Check out my donors web site NOW, and you'll see that even Bullwinkle has donated to support my ride. like the MOOSE does. Please stop by and donate to eliminate blood cancers today!

Well, it rained like a %&*^$# Saturday, again. But we were able to get out on Sunday! And man was this a special day. We had seven riders from the MA team along with us, including three of our mentors. Big Ben came out to see us, and the very lovely Katie Brown, our LLS team representative, was along to drive SAG for us. None of us wound up needing a motor-lift, but it was special to have her come along!

We cycled for what my bike computer logged as 23.4 miles from Boxboro, through Littleton, and then up the big hill to Harvard.

Chugging up the hill to Harvard Center, MA. I was sure beat trying to get up that thing; happens every year. But this time I was even one of the first to get up there, although I was pretty winded when I arrived!

We mostly had a great time. Everything would have been perfect if I'd been aware of a small, but serious mechanical problem. When we headed down the BIG hill on Rt 111 going back into Boxboro after a good ass-kicking ride, I thought I'd coast to my max speed and see how well the new frame on my bike would handle the higher pressure. Well, that didn't go well at all. Could have been a lot worse, but as I reached 39mph, I got the worst kind of shimmy in the bike I'd ever felt. Reminded me of a tooth-breaking fall I'd had as a nine-year-old--but that was 38 years ago, in the street gravel. This was a lot different, and the stakes were higher. I fought that thing wiggling and twitching all the way down the hill! Hollering at myself not to die out there, I finally got the beast to stop wrestling with me as I approached the bottom.

Turns out, and I hate to admit this, I had a loose head assembly, which I could have detected before I started, but what I was doing during my check-out didn't reveal the problem. Well I feel silly, but I know better now how to check for that problem. I just hold the bar down with the front brake on and push forward. If the fork seems to move or slip, time to tighten!!!

Well, I'm still here, I'm not dead, and I'm training for Tahoe.

Where to go after the ride? You bet!!! Check out Di Capri's in Acton, MA next time you're in town!!! Here am I, Coach Mike, Anna, and Krazy Keith.
Posted by Picasa
See the rest of the photos from this training ride at my Picasa site.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Training Week 4 03/02/2007

All right. No more complaining. We DID get snow on March 1, Saturday. But coach Mike Hill arranged to set up an outdoor ride the next day, Sunday, from Boxboro, MA to as far as we were willing to go. There were only four of us: Coach Mike, Jason from down under, Brian, and me. We wound up with a LOVERLY day, no question. So I like an idiot brought the camera, but didn't take any photos. (Ach!) We did about 15.4 miles total, under a very friendly sun, and some steady breezes. It was a good chance to get some mild conditioning in. Why was I the only one tired at the top of Hill Rd and Middle St? I guess I just atrophy a lot faster than most people. It got plenty chilly, but the ride really wasn't a hard one. I'll try to get more outdoor work this week, before we meet again for team training on the weekend.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Training Week 3: 02/23/2008 Spinning, Spinning, SPINNING!

Tell you what, folks, this indoor training gig is getting old. We had another snowstorm yesterday, and we still can't get outside. I tried to get out by myself on Wednesday 2/20, and failed to do so, despite clear, dry conditions. Let's face it, we are behind the eight-ball getting early conditioning here. The indoor spinning class is working for me today, as I find I'm a little winded and my pulse, which usually runs between 160 and 185 for a good stationary bike session, has gotten as high as 193. (Don't tell my personal trainers, okay?) Here I am (photo above) at Longfellow, indoors of course, cranking away next to teammate and fund-raising-leader Maureen M.

Clearly I need some more cross-training, or I'm going to get my butt kicked next week on the road. Snow or no snow, I'm putting my knobbies on my old mountain bike and skitchin'...

Note: Recommitment is three weeks away now. Please donate as quickly as you can using my web page at Thanks!

Training Week 2: 02/16/2008 Spinning, spinning...

It was so warm this week we figured we take advantage of the break and get outside today, but yesterday evening it snowed to beat the band. So, we are spinning again this week, this time for 1:15 at the Longfellow Athletic Center. I was happy to see Lindsay M training with us, though she says she'll be doing the Mad River Valley ride this year, and not Tahoe, so I'll miss her on the mountain in June, and on our numerous long training runs in March, April, and May. We ramped up our expectations only a little this week, and I'm going to need to fill in some cross-training sessions before we meet again next Saturday.

Training Week 1: Spinning 02/09/2008

Well, Coach Mike Hill has decided that we won't try to get outside for training too early in February, so instead I'll get to meet the new MA cycling team members at Longfellow Athletic Center in Natick, MA this morning. We'll be riding stationary bikes ("spinning") following instructions and tunes set by our fearless leader. I got to meet some strong riders! Among the better-looking are Moe, Lisa, Martina, and Anna (returning from last year). Also returning are the irrepressible Ben Levine, the unstoppable Dave Morris, Rich Wilson, and "Dr Keith" Foster. Newcomers John H, Brian A, and our new head coach Mike Hill rounded out our first training session.