Monday, May 21, 2018

Friday in Prescott...

...turned into what every trip I do up there turns into - more than I expected.  I got up Friday AM feeling pretty good even if my jaw was aching from allergies/histamines.  The trip up gave me 90 minutes to sort out what I thought was happening and by the time I rolled into the parking lot off Walker Road, I was feeling better.

Air up the bike (65 psi in the fork, 21/27 in the tires), suit up light....and throw on the Camelback with 32 oz of water.  I had enough food for 3+ hours of food every time I saw 500 calories pass on the Garmin.  I had two bottles of CR 333, 2 scoops.  Fueling wasn't gonna be a problem.

The remnants of the Allegra/Sudafed cocktail I had the day before were.  That and the melatonin I took to sleep better left me with a bit of "fuzz" in my sorting out the trail right away wasn't so easy.  I turned on the Garmin to learn that the route had NOT been loaded....but I was certain I could sort it out.

Nope.  I roll out and soon I'm at a gate.  I pull up RideWithGPS, the same app that saved my ass in Pine, and realize I'm doing my route backwards.  Pretty big deal....since I had planned to climb for the first half and descend what I hoped would be shitty singletrack back to the truck.

Turn around, catch the parking lot and find my way.  Soon I'm climbing up Ranch Trail #62....and climbing.  My legs seem to be coming around...and then I'd have a moment where they'd hiss and spit at any effort.  I chunk it down a gear or three and just churn away.  That wasn't much of a problem as Ranch Trail is as described by the dudes I met a few weeks back - fairly wide, fairly smooth....with no real purpose.  It just goes.  And it did.  It was still fun....but as I get to the Badger Mountain intersection, I realize I probably coulda had more fun descending this.  (I would be correct.)

Keep climbing and THEN the descent starts.  It's over sooner than I expect....and I'm on Senator Highway.  Churn my way up to Spruce Mountain Road.  Take the left, eat a bite and set about climbing.  This road would pretty much drain what I had - so many stretches of 12-15% washboard climbing with so-short stretches of not so steep between.  I was almost ready to quit, turn around and climb BACK out on Ranch Trail when I saw the trail on the other side of the fence.  Glance at the app and, yep, that's my turn.

Now I'm on what is apparently a more-popular-for-hiking trail....and it's fucking awesome!  Loose rocks, chunky stuff all in the way, narrow and tree-covered.  Even though my lower back is aching now from all the climbing, I ride what I can the best I can....which meant I pretty much hike-a-biked the steep climbs out.  Soon I'm in a clearcut area....and back at Walker Road.

I glance at my map and it makes less sense.  The turn I'm supposed to see isn't where I think it should I ride down this campground road.  I get so far down and decide to look at a REAL paper map I have.  Yep, I'm too far down.

Turn around, climb back out....and I'm feeling it now.  I'm 3 hours in, still have 7-9 miles to go.  I notice a dude in a green jersey on the side of the road.  He says something....but in my stupor, I don't hear it.

"Uh....what was that?"

"I said....WHAT'S UP?" a tone that sounded pretty smart-ass at the time.

"Not much.  Cool.", as I see the trail and shoot down.

I don't think much more about the dude other than I really won't be surprised if he catches me or not.  I wouldn't mind the company but with that snarky attitude, I didn't think we'd ride together much.  I start motoring (now) on Lynx Lake Trail and having some fun - it's narrow, chunky in spots and kinda rocky.  There are some moves I'm looking at, thinking, "huh....if he cleaned that, I'd be surprised..."

Soon the flowing trail crosses a road....and I double-check my map.  I'm on track so I keep rolling after I take on some more food.  As it starts crossing EVERY road in the campground, I'm getting annoyed 'cause I just wanna ride.  I stop at one of the intersections to make sure I'm on route.  Then I hear it - tires scratching.

Green Jersey Guy is sliding through corners.  "Fuck if I'm gonna let him catch me NOW"....and I take off!

I'm soon ramping it up, well into Zone 4.  It doesn't feel good....not with my left lower back aching and my arms are a bit pumped from some of the hammering.  I'm also 3:30 in and not fresh.  Still, I hammer away.

The tree-covered trail turns to clear-cut area....more rolling rather than downhill.  I stay in the gas....but when I reach this one rocky crossing, I realize I'm pretty buried - I dismount and walk a section I knew I could ride just 'cause my arms were feeling it.

Glance back....listen....nothing.  He's not coming and he's not near.  I get back  on it.  Now it's just easier to get THROUGH this if I ride I ride harder.  When I reach the familiar gate from the morning, I realize I'm almost back to the truck.  Ease up, just ride.  Soon I'm back at the truck, drinking a Coke as I watch Green Jersey roll in....about 5 or 6 minutes back.

I don't think anymore about til I get to Subway where I know I need to choke down some food if I'm gonna feel good for the ride back.  Walk inside, who's there?  Green Jersey Guy....

I know it was him 'cause it was poster child for all things Enduro.  Loose fitting collared "jersey" with zipper pockets, typical baggie shorts, riding socks....and soft-sole flat-pedal-riding shoes.....but now also with the flat-brim hat so many bro/brah dudes wear.  He glances up at me....recognizes "that dude from the trail"....and quickly looks away.  I say "what's up?" as I walk by to no response.

Enh.  That attitude.  The "I'm so much cooler" attitude.  I don't get it.  I'm sure I've given it off, too....but after being conscious of it for so many years now, I despise when I see it in others.  Blow it off.

Even still, it was a FUN ride!  The Smurf continues to impress me as a bike, that hardtail that seems to do LOTS of things well, even descend through technical, chunky shit.  It does NOT ride like the FrankenEpic so that makes it even more fun - a "new" bike.  I was gonna let it hang up for a day or two....since I'll be riding it LOTS next week....but as I pulled the FrankenEpic down to tune it up, I realized it won't hurt to get a bit more time on the Smurf, make sure I'm where I want to be on more riding on it tomorrow.

More about the rest of the weekend later!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

ToC & Giro Week... just useless for me.  It wasn't until today that I finally said, "enh, that's enough bike racing - I'll do something productive!"....and even then, it wasn't that productive.  Of course, grocery store runs are helpful around dinner time.

Monday, I pretty much ran errands after walking Shelby the Greyhound:

  • post office to pick up my cage mounts...
  • the two boxers to the vet...
  • vacuum cleaner shopping...
  • ...and Wally's for dinner with all the old folks.
Tuesday was the last day with Shelby....and it couldn't come sooner.  She's a GREAT dog....but the geriatric assholes in that 'hood insist on letting their dogs off leash, shit wherever and never pick it up...and just act like they can't be bothered to say, "hi".

I get home and while I planned to go to the gym, I don't feel great.  After Sunday's rip, my sinuses had some pressure so....I get all doped up to try to solve the issue.  I ended up swapping cranksets on the Juice - from a low-end Shimano triple I had converted to a single long an XT triple I had laying around.  No, I only added one 32 tooth chainring so the Juice is still a single.

I also flipped the bike over and added oil to each fork leg.  When playing in the driveway, it had some cavitation....and sure enough it was drier than it shoulda been.  One good shot of 5wt per leg and it was good....

Wednesday I headed out EARLY with Meghan for a quick hammer session.  Simple route - up through PV to the 40th Street trailhead and back.  No real breaks....just hammer hard.  We kicked it in just past the Country Club and soon we're mashing out a good tempo.  Round the corner and she tells me she's in HR zone 3.9.  I'm doing a bit better but I ease off a bit before the next upward-trending road.

We turn left and I settle in.  She's barking about being in Zone 4....but good.  We top the next corner faster than I think ever have (....but I was wrong by a few seconds.)  Down 52nd to Berneil, stay on it....ease up to cross Tatum and rest before Mountain View.  Left turn and we go again.  Lotsa other riders are out playing in the cooler air.  We reach the top, right on Fanfol and ease out to 40th...where she always has a bit of a struggle.  Turn left and grind it up to the top. Circle through....and take a break.  

When we hit Fanfol, I get in the drops and start motoring.  I soon see 25 mph and we're moving!  Ease up over Mountain View's speed bumps....cross Tatum and down Mountain View.  Right onto 52 again and we're hammering pretty well, 18 mph or so.  Left turn and motor some more to ???.  I suggest avoiding the road construction and we turn up Mojave.

Ease up Mojave to the top, up Cheney.  Meghan takes Cheney down and I  decide to give Hummingbird a go.  I drop in, catch a couple more gears.  As I roll in, I can tell I feel good so....I just stand or motor over the top.  Reach the flat breathing hard but I'm good - hammer it a bit more, round the corners that always look littered and loose.  Drop a couple of gears, stand and top the hill feeling strong.  Down the other side, reach 68th before Meghan....but she soon catches me and we're off.

I spent the rest of that day building wheels.  I found a deal on some Shimano Sora hubs and Velocity rims.  I'd been looking for another set of wheels to I snagged em'.  The plan is to put them on the Trek 500...which needed some massaging to make a 130mm rear hub fit in what-used-to-be a 125mm space.  I finished the rear wheel pretty quickly....but hit a snag when I opened the front hub box - it was a 36 hole hub and I have a 32 hole rim.  

Sure enough, the folks sent the wrong hub....I had ordered a 32 hole.  Look on the site and sure enough - no more 32 hole hubs on hand.  I paid $16 for the 36 hole....and I'll build some wheels soon enough with em'....but for now, it's useless.

Wheel is built.  I spend the rest of the afternoon nursing whatever is going on with my sinuses...and gradually getting better.  I have these plans to ride in Prescott tomorrow....that may get changed.  I hate the idea of spending four hours in the truck feeling like I have the past few mornings.  I'd feel fine riding....but that drive.

So I may go to Mt. Ord.  It's more of a training ride-type of adventure....but it's dirt, it's technical....and it's only 1 hour away.  There's also some SHITTY trails to hit.

We'll see in the AM.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Via Linda....

...isn't a HARD climb but for Scottsdale, it's one of the longer climbs with enough grade to make it more of a climbing workout than just a tempo ride.  I prefer it to Pima 'cause the traffic is just better.  Rich people don't tend to be too aggressive 'cause they like their money too much to swerve and hit ya.  Same goes for the illegal immigrants they hire to clean their houses and trim their yards.

So I weave up 132nd, catch the climb and start up.  I wanna do another set of torque intervals so...gear up and mash.  I figure my plan is to go from sign to sign.  That works till the gap between signs proves to be too far....and it felt like I wouldn't get another in.  I take another dig at the last steep(ish) kick to the gate that sends me partway down the rabbit hole of "whythefuckdidIdothat??".

Grind up through the Hidden Hills 'hood....trying a sit/stand combination.  I sat for two mailboxes, stood for two...until there were no more on my side of the road.  I did catch a few more before the one last interval before the Via Linda Stelvio.  I feel GOOD now, I'm recovering well.  I round the corners and just STAY in the gas to the top.  A bit winded and euphoric, I didn't care that the skinny girl at the top was sitting IN the middle of the trail with her yippy dog so close to gettin' squished.

Now the other thing I was trying out was eating on more of schedule.  My right pocket was full of snacks.  My plan was to eat around 200 calories for every 500 the Garmin said I had burnt.  In the first 30 minutes, I drank a 1/4 of a CarboRocket bottle with 2 scoops (so 55 or 222) and choked down a few Pro Bar chews (or 90) I was close (135 of the 200?).

Down Eagle Ridge, up to Suncrest(?) and right on Sage.  I start weaving down my semi-planned, semi-relying on RideWithGPS.  It's a fun descent....but it's nervy ( word) with all the residents around.  Hit Saguaro Road, right on Kingstree and I stop for another snack.

Feeling pretty good still, I start up the climb.  It doesn't seem so bad - nice 4-5% grade and wide bike lane.  I start to notice other roads in the area with STEEP pitches.  "I'm glad I'm not climbing THAT!", I say to myself as I look further north....then I round the corner.

Fuck.  It's not long at 1/10th of a mile...and it's not HORRIBLE at 9.3% average....but it was enough to set me to seeking out the easiest gears and pacing as smart as I could.  I was still topped out and heaving air in and out of my lungs by the top.  Luckily, that was it.  The rest of the grind up Kingstree was easy.  Over to Palomino was more the same - 2.6% for a little over a mile.  I was surprised I was hauling ass up this...until I figured out the tailwind situation that seemed to be pushing me up the mountain.

I reach Eagle Ridge and I'm feeling good enough to just make a push on up to the top.  One last standing kick and I'm up and over.  Down the Path Stelvio, playing with the brakes - lots of early braking then letting go so that the tires and centrifugal force can work together.  Down Via Linda...through the 'hoods to Mountain View and back home.  I took the 87th Street bypass I've found and as I'm the last bit of path I think, "I want to do another interval...but I probably shouldn't....but oh well."

I dig deep, telling myself I'll see how I feel when I hit Zone 4.  A few seconds later, I'm firmly in Zone 4....and while it hurts, I keep going.  I push hard all the way to Paseo Del Sur....then quit.  I'm cooked.  Even as I amble home, I can feel my body is done.

Get home, make the Mother's Day call then settle in to watch the Tour of California.  It's boring, I'm sure I won't miss anything so I go make some lunch - pasta with grilled chicken & onions.  Consider getting in the pool til I feel how cold the water is.  Flop on the couch outside so I can watch the race.  There's 70k to go so I can lounge here for a bit.

I wake up with 50-something to go.  The dogs are panting.  We go inside.  I drink another bottle of water and lay back.  40k to go, I'm good for this.

I wake up as Gaviria is rolling through the parking lot, celebrating his win.

I slept pretty hard for awhile....maybe 1 1/2-2 hours?.  It takes a good 20 minutes to "wake up" but when I do, I feel pretty good.  I take care of some chores, call Meghan as she sits in Charlotte's airport then shower.

I playback the week in my head....and realize I have spent a good portion of time napping.  However, those naps came after some pretty good rides.  I realize the heat and wind have probably played a toll.  The fact that I do have good legs after the Whiskey race (and all the subsequent forced rest).  Stack on the fact that I have been walking about between 2-5 miles EVERY morning at 5 am for the month of May....and it's no wonder this "change" in exercise has left me taking longer (and more fruitful?) naps.

Sadly (not sadly) my stint with Shelby the Greyhound comes to a close tomorrow.  I'll have to figure out a plan to keep up my reasons for getting up at 5 am...and that reason will have to be something other than riding.  I thought about as I walked this morning - I love riding in AZ 'cause most of the time it is warm.  And when I'm warm, I move well.  It's when I'm cold that I tend to be sluggish.  Sure, I warm up and it's a short 15-30 minute period to get there....but I still have little motivation to work through that.

So maybe I will:

  • walk OUR mutts....all three of em'.
  • hike.  I could likely hit Gateway if I wanna drive 30 minutes...or Camelback if I wanna drive 10.
  • stretch....really stretch. Long stretches.
  • cook.  Make a REALLY nice breakfast for Meghan and me.
  • pedal for coffee.  I don't have to suit up - I just have to go two blocks to the Starbucks....
  • ...or find other coffee.  So long as they're not as snooty as the folks at Altitude.
I'm sure I'll come up with more options.  The Fountain Hills ride also left me thinking about training.  Even though I'm not training for any event in particular, I am shooting for a couple of goals:
  • 250,000 feet in elevation gain this year.  
  • improve my overall fitness.
Yesterday left me thinking of a plan for the summer.  The biggest hurdle of training in summer here is the heat.  Sure, I'm doing these "heat acclimaton" rides and they seem to be working but like Sunday's Fountain Hills Ride, I was left drained.  Even on Monday morning, I could tell I dug deep.  Now would a 40+ mile ride with less than 1700 feet of climbing do that normally?   No...but if ya consider everything that accumulated PRIOR to this ride, it makes sense:
  • dehydration - I had two evenings with LOTS of alcohol....
  • heat acclimation rides - I did one on Wednesday....that left me pretty drained then I did ANOTHER on Friday.  
  • early AM wake-up's - I read somewhere that when you change your wake-up time, it takes 2-4 days to adapt when you do it in 15 minute increments.  I made a 90 minute adjustment in a matter of a simple math says it should take 12-24 days.  Ha!
  • intervals - on two of the heat acclimation rides prior, I did semi-structured (not really) intervals that were a bit harder than I probably should have done.  The tempo session from the house to the 'Yota place may have been a bit much.
Anyway ya look at it, I went deep this past week.  And I'm paying for it.

So my plan:
  • I want to focus my rides around TWO key days 
    • a road trip dirt day : Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff....I don't care so long as it's not AS hot as Scottsdale...
    • a climbing day - this is the key point in "training".  Climbing is my weakest point....but I think there is lot more I could be doing to make it better:
      • weight loss - I set (break?) the scale at 224 pounds regularly.  Yep, that's less than what it was a few months back but I could stand to lose more so....
        • cut back on alcohol - no "binge" sessions like last Thursday night....and probaly limit my "regular" intake to 1-2x maybe twice a week.
        • watch my food - eat smarter....
          • Breakfast: add in more protein and eat enough to stay FULL til lunch....
          • Lunch: healthier, smarter choices...greens with chicken or fish, lots of veggies.  Maybe pasta post-ride but always with protein.
          • Dinner:  smaller, lighter and greener.  It wouldn't hurt to take in way fewer carbs....and less protein as well.  Just cut back.
          • Less Nutella.  Notice I didn't say no Nutella.  That's not a good life choice.
          • Less soda & sugar.  I have an addiction to the post-ride Coke.  That carbonation is a relief to a parched throat.  Fewer cookies, too....
      • structured climbing
        • a weekly climb - so this is the BIG addition to my weekly plan, four good climbs, one per week.  I've narrowed it down to these:
          • Mt. Ord - I have ridden it once....and I love it.  Good surface, GREAT views and good temps even in the harshest part of summer.  I can use the DiVerge...or I can return with the FrankenEpic or Smurf especially if I want to add in more post-"attack".
          • Usery - I rode this climb so many times two years ago I am surprised it crossed my mind.  Thing is it IS one of the best climbs in the PHX area.  3 miles & ???? feet of climbing, it's a good challenge.  This will be one for the R3...unless I map out a route with dirt...but that defeats the purpose of the "attack" (....more to come on that)
          • Humboldt - definitely one for the DiVerge, it'll be a dirt ride to get there...'cause I'll likely park at Sears Kay.  Maybe I'll go further on the warmer day.  It's HARD, it gets STEEP but it is fun...and empty.  VERY few cars and fewer people.
          • SoMo - this is the only one I'm "iffy" about.  The tourists make it dangerous.  I have a t-shirt for a foundation of a guy who was killed there recently.  Still it's the only curvy climb around.  And if I go....I won't do the simple line up from the park - ya gotta add in San Jose Road (???) to get the FULL climb.
          • Random Day - if SoMo falls outta contention, maybe I'll add in a host of other climbs.  There's still ALOT of good stuff to ride within a 1-3 hour window....worth driving to if only to see it once.
        • the "attack" - so the plan for my training session goes like:
          • If there is no warm-up, the first trip up is the warm-up.  Smooth cadence, steady pace....starting in Zone 1,2 for 15-20 minutes, 10 minutes in Zone 3 then 5 minutes in Zone 4.  If I make the top, great....if not, turn around and get ready.
          • the "attack"....plain and simple, this is the hardest sustained effort I can do...or basically a good hard Zone 3,4 attempt.  It means easing off when I see Zone 5, it means ramping up when I see Zone 2.  It also means going off feel as much as anything else.
          • the interval trip.  Once the attack is over and I'm back at the bottom, I'll go again.  This is where "gains" should be made if to nothing more than my confidence.  I would hope I could just practice at getting better:
            • mashing a harder gear (torque intervals) when I can....then recover...
            • spinning through sections to see how well my legs respond....
            • Zone 4,5 intervals with Z2 recovery between...
        • REST - If I have learned anything in the last few years, it is REST really pays off.  I will likely "actively" rest the next day....which means an easy spin and LOTS of stretching.  The NEXT day will be the OFF in nothing but naps and stretching and catching up on what I missed while I played on my bike.
      • Strength training - the best (or worst) part of climbing is all the "alone time" you get with your brain.  You can sort problems...or create problems.  I tend to "inventory" my body and hope my mental notes of what the hell is going wrong stick around so I can work on em' later.
        • No doubt I will do more core work...and more regularly.  Sunday was good but I could tell when the "fun" was over, my core relaxed and the tension built in my shoulders.  I relaxed TOO much and soon my core was putting off the work onto my back and shoulders....
          • so....more upper body work, too.  Before the Whiskey I did alot of upper body strength training on my chest and arms.  It paid off and at the end of the race, I felt pretty good still...up there.  
          • leg work will come in IF I need it.  Honestly I have been relying on outdoor activities to strengthen those areas - hiking covers alot of the muscles that get neglected by cycling...but I could still do more for more hip flexors and hamstrings.
        • Barre classes have worked wonders for Meghan.  They're core-based so there's no doubt they'll be good for me.
        • Hot yoga, too....probably more relaxing (maybe?) but I'm willing to try it.
      • Stretching - I really, REALLY need to get serious about doing this.  Every time I do it, I feel better....but I always tend to put it off for something else....'cause I feel something else is more important.  I just need to make it a priority.
The rest of the training days....will be based on feel and energy.  If I do a climbing day and I have the energy, I'll add in more.  If I am SPENT, I'll slow down a bit.  I'm not reaching for any one particular if progress is slow, that's fine - as long as there continues to be progress.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Fountain Hills.... a small town on the OTHER side of the McDowell Mountains.  The first time I ever rolled through there was heading out to the trails to pre-ride the Fat Tire 40 course.  I remember thinking, "wow, this is bellybutton retirement town!"

I still think that for the most part....but it still doesn't mean I wouldn't love to live there sometimes.  It is one of the few places in the Phoenix area where you can buy a home on a hill with a view and it doesn't look exactly like your neighbor's.  The streets remind me of Stokes County with the fun turns, steep pitches that come outta nowhere and old people with no idea anyone else is around.

So I had this plan to go there Saturday morning, after walking Shelby the Greyhound and before coming back and watching the Giro. I get home from walking Shelby and I still feel like ass.  I drink some coffee, set down and watch the bike race.  It's soon 9 am and I don't feel any more energetic.  I take a knee.

I ended up:

  • (almost) finishing some repairs to the drywall in the hallway...
  • vacuuming the house
  • cleaning the kitchen
  • finishing up Meghan's Crux upgrade to a Red drivetrain....which took a bit.
Turned out I had read something wrong, had the inner chainring on backwards.  Take out the bolts, flip it around, line it up....readjust the derailleur and it shifts 100% better.
  • pickup around the house (since Meghan will be home Sunday night!)
  • ...and plot out my ride for Sunday morning.
Ever since Via Linda opened up at the top so that Fountain Hills can be accessed by NOT using Shea, I've been heading over there kinda/sorta often.  When I get bored enough that even a road ride will suffice, I usually choose Via Linda or PV.  I have ridden the popular route - down by Sunridge and up Palisades twice's kinda boring.  It takes it outta ya, for sure....but it's not that entertaining.

However it is the one route that isn't really so much neighborhood rolling.  I don't mind 'hood rolling when I'm solo or with 1-2 others.   That's manageable and doesn't piss the 'hood off with a bunch of (usually) inconsiderate spandex jockeys buzzin' along and slingin' goo wrappers.

My plan was simple:

  • Up and over Via Linda....
  • Catch Sage
  • Down ???? to F'Hills Blvd, over to Chama...
  • weave down ??? to Saguaro
  • Up Kingstree....
  • Palomino and...
  • up Eagle Ridge back to....
  • Via Linda & more home.
So the plan is set.  Yet I still didn't roll out til 9 am.

It felt good outside.  I walked Shelby the Greyhound, came home to drink coffee and watch the Giro.  It was disappointing but it allowed me time to digest my cereal.  When I did get suited up though, it still felt good outside even if the wind was up still.

Roll out and this time I went around the country club to Doubletree & Via Linda.  Traffic was the typical bag of assholes in Range Rovers and I made myself as wide as possible.  When I do catch Mountain View, the adrenaline is gone and I'm wondering how the hell I'm gonna get to going.

My HR wouldn't get out of Zone 1.....and it didn't feel like I'd be able to get it to.  Any SLOW effort to raise it slowly felt like I was under a pallet of bricks.  I finally conceded and said, "enh, good day to take it easy."


So I hit the uphill grind portion...which is still only 1-2%...and decide I'll try these intervals I learned/forgot about - torque intervals....or mashing a big gear at 50-60 rpms.  I remember the first time I saw anyone do em'.  It was Alan Edmondson, he was FLYING at the time and he was stomping this monster gear up Hanging Rock on his beater bike.  I was floored....and worried he'd blow a knee out.

That was kinda my thought until I decided to do it on a grade that wouldn't be SO horrible (2% vs 12% is just better).  I set off for a 1 minute interval - 3 gears up and my tempo is SLOW.  My legs were hurting at the end but at least now my HR was up.

Ease off, pedal smooth for awhile then go again.  I was doing 17 mph, burying myself as well, up this stretch I'm usually good to do 15 mph on.  Round the corner, ease up but lo and behold, my legs have come has my HR.  I'm gonna have more of a ride than expected!

More later.

Monday, May 14, 2018

I realized Friday.... truck was due for service soon....and since I'm taking a few more road trips soon, I figured I better get it into the dealership sooner than later.  I made the call Thursday after I realized the Greenbelt through Scottsdale & Tempe now takes a hard left and goes east towards Mesa, too....right by the 'Yota dealership.  I had it my head:

  • drop the truck early Friday morning...
  • ride the Diverge back home...
  • ride the R3 or ??? whatever on Saturday morning and...
  • somehow end up at the 'Yota dealership to scoop the Tundra.
The morning started SLOW - I had a bit of a hangover from the night before.  A friend from NC was in town for work and we finally got Twin Peaks.  I had one beer before I left home and then proceeded to have about 4 more 22 oz glasses of Lagunitas...and a small order of wings.  Over-hydrated and under-nourished, I was sure Friday's AM ride would suck.

The ride back home was good - I kinda took my time on the paved portions but when I got to Tempe "beach" I started feeling good riding in the sand....the same sand I couldn't seem to get right the last time I rode it with Barry.  It coulda been because there were tons of people out there before....and I tend to ride sand like a fish on the beach....wherever I get "pushed" is where I end up.

Anyways, the sand ends and I see the crossing over to the singletrack in Papago.  I'd not ridden over there in I jump in.  I weave around not worry about time 'cause it feels good outside, cooler temps and an easy breeze.  I rip up some singletrack the best I can...still happy I switched the carbon wheels over to Maxxis Speed Terrane's...and didn't keep these Spec'd Triggers that are doing okay but...they are not confidence-inspiring on the rocks.

Hit the canal finally after hitting the little climb Barry showed me (and scaring the shit outta some kid in Full Enduro gear who was apparently gonna, "send it, brah!"  I settle into a tempo, struggling to find the "spot" on the saddle. I felt out-of-whack...which always worries me that I'm reverting to old habits and my left leg is gonna shrink up again.

Up through Scottsdale, dodging the runners and tourists.  Hit the canal and go home.  I proceed to change clothes so that I can hang with the mutts and TRY to keep them calm while the landscapers do their thing.  Next time I open my eyes, it's 11:30 and I have text messages from the Toyota place - the truck is ready.

So I get antsy without my truck and if plans to pick it up can be moved UP....say to 1 pm, I will go for it...damn the heat.  It's supposed to be 98 degrees by 4 pm....but it's supposed to only be 93 right now.  I suit up and head out.

I'm not sure if it was the nap, that my legs were already opened up and slightly warm....but I left out on the DiVerge in a hurry.  The slight downhill run into Tempe helped.  The eastbound crosswind didn't.  Anyways, I'm stomping out a good tempo...feeling strong so I stay in it.

The DiVerge is that bike that just feels good most anytime I ride it.  Other than the saddle issue (which may be resolved sooner than later), it rides smooth.  With 33c tires at less than 60 psi most of time, it should.  It handles like a mountain bike....albeit a rigid hardtail with super narrow bars.  The drivetrain is basically Ultegra (now) and it has disc brakes.  It's just a fun do-everything bike.

Still glad I got mine before they started making em' with 1x's and droopers....

Anyways, I rip on down to Tempe Town Lake, hit the beach again....riding it all again...and jump across.  I tell myself to take it easy, cool down before the Yota place...but, no.  I keep hammering.  I finally back off at Tempe Marketplace where I have to stop for traffic.  Ease out to the dealership, looking like a drowned rat.  Scoop the 'Yota and drive home.

After that it was more drinking and food with Andrew after running to the mall to pickup new sunglasses.  I've wanted another set of Oakleys since my last set (bought in 2014 AS we were moving out here).  I have bought two other sets since...a set of WileyX's that fell into the blue quagmire of a port-a-john and a set of Nike's that just look....goofy.

Now Saturday was GOING TO BE a hills ride....but when I got up, I felt worse than I did Friday morning....and only after 3 glasses of wine.  I had done ALOT more pedaling...even if the Yota runs were only 16 miles each.  I didn't chalk it up to heat....yet.

More later.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Riding in the Heat....

...wasn't so bad y'day.  I suited up, slathered on 100 SPF sunscreen, filled up two bottles and headed to the garage.  In no mood to hit the same ole' roads, I aired up the DiVerge to 64/58 and took off.  I figured I'd head towards the north side of PMP, jump in somewhere and ride some dirt before deciding on the rest of the route.

As soon as I was on 68th, I had a carrot.  I was reeling him in until he saw me...and then he ramped it up.  His body english went from semi-smooth and relaxed to bowed out knees, hunkered-down shoulders and a quicker cadence.  So...yea, I chased. 

I round the corner at the golf club and he's slowing.  I'm fresh so I dig in.  As we near the roundabout, he's glancing back.  I stay calm...but as soon as he's around, I stand up and DIG.  I round the corner and he's not far ahead now.  Make the next left and he's still diggin' but with some landscaper taking up the street, he gives up.  I pass by, "Good Morning!"....and I stay in the gas.  I'm hitting the 150's and starting to feel it...but I don't care.

Round the right hand corner and no one is around.

Weave up Berneil to the 'hood near Mtn View and Fanfol.  Shoot down Octilla and I'm headed towards Dreamy Draw when I remember 36th had a good access.  I dive in the first one I see.

Now up until this point, the temps had been pretty nice.  Warm in the sun, cooled by the breeze.  That shit ended.  While the black tarmac absorbs the heat of the sun, the bleached-out rocks reflect so much of it.  The temp seemed to climb a good 10 degrees.  I know I won't be here long.

Out to North 40, somehow catch Trail 100 and turn left on some trail I'm certain will go to the Tatum end of the Trail 100.  It weaves ALOT and the chunkiness gets bigger.  I'm having fun and I'm not worried about wheels - I still have the aluminum DT Swiss / Roval wheels on here so....yea, not worried.

Finally catch a connection, down T100 and I'm doing okay.  I get to the big dips and notice that a bunch of Stravassholes have "straightened" out a corner.  I start to blow it off....then think not.  I lay the bike down and go back to toss some big rocks up there, block it as much as I can.  There was NO need for straightening that corner other than not knowing how to corner a bike. may be cleaned out when I go back....and if it is, I'll clog it up again.

Catch the road, weave back towards Desert Fairways but somehow miss a turn.  I do catch Roadrunner and head into the next country club.  Get passed by an old guy in one of those cheap Jaguar-esque Ford Contours....buzzed almost.  When we hit the stoplight, I stop RIGHT where he has to look around me to see oncoming traffic before he can turn.  Dick move?  Yes....but sometimes I get tired of these foreigners (California, this time) pretending they don't know they have to give room.

Up the weavy part to McDonald....and now I'm feeling good.  The temps are still climbing - it's probably in the 90's by now - but I feel really good.  Catch McDonald, up Sanctuary and down Cameldale with no real intentions.  Catch Jackrabbit, hit the path going north and just cruise.

So I had it in my head to do 2 hours....but I'm running outta interesting real estate.  I figure I'll ride canal dirt to Pima, turn around and go home by way of more canal dirt.  I'm on the last eastbound stretch when I decide, "I should go for the Strava least a PR!"

I ease off about 50 yards from the end, relax, take a drink but when I make the left, I start DIGGIN'!!

My HR climbs from 145 towards 160 fast.  I look down and see 22, 23 mph.  My legs are turning hard.  I hit the dirt and get that extra "kick" that comes when I feel the grip.  I glance down to see 168.  The 170's come quick and so do the stinging legs and shallow lungs.  It's not much further when I see the old guy on the cruiser....weaving.  Holy shit, I hope he's holds at least one good line as I pass.  He's doing 8...and I'm doing 22.  This won't be good if he moves quick for the first time in 20-30 years.

Luckily, he holds true to form, weaves right and I blast by.  Stop, fill water bottles and ease it home.  As soon as I roll in, I'm shedding clothes.  I wade into the pool to chill my legs....but within moments, I'm pretty much swimming.  I fiddle with the pool cleaner a bit before I realize, holy shit....I'm in the pool already!  Still had my bibs on.  Still had my HR strap on.  Hope it still works.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Dumb Ideas...

...are what I feel like I'm having lately.  So much of what I find myself doing just seems dumb....but somehow I justify a reason.  Sometimes those reasons make sense...other times I'm shaking my own head as I think, "waste more energy/money, ya idiot."  I'm talking about things like

Heat Acclimation Rides

I'm plotting one out right now as I sit here all but naked, trying to figure out where to go that will be fun to see but not deathly draining as the temps are already here in the 90's.  Sure, I was already up this morning at 5:00.  I walked dogs for 90 minutes or so....a friend's dog, our three dogs, etc.  I should have scarfed down some food and headed out in the chillier air of 7 am....which was still 80+.  Instead I made coffee, met with the pool guy and took care of starting breakfast for Meghan...who was out at 6 am on her bike.

So 8 am woulda been better...than now.  But, No.  I sat down and watched the Giro, drank coffee and ate a grilled cheese & bacon sandwich for breakfast.  The Giro ended and that was when I started sorting ideas.

A hour ago the Dreamy Draw Loop sounded good.  Now it doesn't.  I'm jonesing to make bike riding interesting...and since it won't be on the trails (which would be awesome really!), I have to pick through the roads in/around Scottsdale.  

Yea, a 10am is a luxury for most...and just dumb once the PHX air hits 90+....'cause it only gets worse.  For me, it's a chance to acclimatize(?) to the warmer air, let my body adapt.  It paid dividends at Whiskey...but the only thing I'm training for NOW is the Tahoe trip (more on that later!)  Why bother? 'Cause it takes me getting bored with work to decide, "hey, I should ride in the I get used to it."

Random Wheel Building

I basically dropped a little over $200 in the last two days on wheel stuff.  Shimano Sora hubs & Velocity rims, all from Chain Reaction Cycles....'cause let's face it - all Shimano stuff is cheaper if ya buy it overseas.  When local bike shops tell ya they WON'T stock Shimano 'cause the online prices are cheaper, ya might as well buy em'...well, online.  Unless it's Landis Cyclery....and then you're gonna pay full retail plus some.  But at least they DO have it on hand, I guess.

I bought the spokes and nipples from Universal, a shop with multiple locations in the northern edges of the country.  They sell spokes individually...and they'll be here in a few days.  Sure beats riding all over town trying to source it all.  Sure, I could ORDER em' locally but admittedly, the last time I did that it took MULTIPLE phone calls to make sure I got what I wanted and MULTIPLE trips....and I likely spent the same.  

Does this sound like a rant about "supporting your local bike shop"?  It sure could be.

In the past four years after moving to AZ, I have only found a handful of bike shops I continue to shop with.  Truth be told, if I were in Tucson, I would likely just order EVERYTHING from Sabino....even if there wasn't an employee discount.  They keep plenty of stuff and if they don't have it, they WILL find it.  They're intelligent enough to sort through the maze of offerings and help get the right stuff.

I really like Bicycles of Phoenix but it's a bit of a haul through some shitty traffic for me.  There are some other good shops - Tribe Multisport & Bicycle Haus have been great.  Most of the others have left me disappointed.  Like Sunday - I walked into one to pick up some stuff to wrap up Meghan's Crux upgrade to Red.  I need Avid brake fluid & a chain....not BIG ticket items nor items the average consumer would ask for.  They had one chain...but it was mountain bike-oriented so I put it back.  They didn't have Avid fluid I said I'd buy one of the two bleed kits on the wall.  NEITHER bleed kit had the fluid inside....yet they were still marked full retail.  Enh.  I ordered it all from Jenson and it was here Tuesday morning.

So....the wheels.  I bought the parts to build a set of inexpensive wheels that MIGHT fit on the Trek 500.  I'm using the original wheels on the Fuji....which will likely go I wanted to see if I could upgrade the Trek to something stockier, make it feel more sturdy.  

Why the MIGHT fit statement?  'Cause the wheels are 130mm, my frame is 125mm.  I've stretched frames before.  It's not hard but it is consuming.  Too much one way and your wheel is off-center....making for a less than fun ride.  That's assuming the bike is square anyway...and the material in the chainstays, seatstays and dropouts are good.  

Am I worried?  Nah.  The entire bike was purchased for $20....rebuilt with $180 more.  These wheels will DOUBLE the value...but make it more my mind at least.  If they don't work the way I want....I'll sell em'.  If I can get $300, I'll just sink that back into another set of wheels to sell...or try on something else.

So....I really do need to get to pedaling.  I get the feeling there will be no route...just rambling. 


Friday in Prescott...

...turned into what every trip I do up there turns into - more than I expected.  I got up Friday AM feeling pretty good even if my jaw was ...