The voice of complacency

10 Dec

We all have heard the voice of complacency. It’s that little whisper in the back of your head. The one that says “you rode hard just the other day (even if it was two weeks ago) take it easy”. It might say “It’s too cold to ride today”, “oh it’s raining today”, or “you’ve had a hard day, take a rest day”. It is a nagging voice that can drag us down. It tells us all the things we want to hear. I’ll bet we all recognize that voice. It sounds like our own voice but it’s not us. We are the hard ones, the tough ones, we are cyclist!
Since we all hear this voice at times how do we deal with it? Some have the self determination to rise above the voice. They can turn a deaf ear to the voice. Not all of us can. We need to find coping methods. For the strong it may be having a schedule is enough to keep getting us to not listen to the voice. For me I need a bit more help to keep getting me to ride on those days.
I have found a secret weapon against the voice of complacency. This is Gary, (imagine a guy very slim but not skinny, very fit with grey hair and 65 years old) he is my riding buddy. Gray always rides. Anything short of flooding or ice he will be looking for me every week. Having someone expecting you is a great weapon against “the voice”. Knowing that if you don’t show up, he will call to see if you died (that is only a viable excuse if you have a doctor’s note). If you call him to try to beg off you will have to give an explanation. It better be a good one. I’m tired or its cold are not acceptable excuses.
Gary is a strong rider. He rides three days a week. He is almost always faster than me. I have to work hard just to keep up when he is out front. When I’m on the front he can rest.
Gary is retired but he has a busy and full life. He now gets to set his own schedule so he plans on his rides and things just almost never get in the way. Having someone who is expecting you is a great motivator. I recommend finding a ride buddy like I have. Then you can be the motivator for them just as they are for you.

Tech Review by RJ

16 Sep

Today we introduce a new item to our blog posting. A good friend of mine has agreed to write some tech blog stuff. He is a bike wrench and avid rider. He rides a lot of MtBike and some road. He is always fast and he likes the tech side of our toys. He goes by the handle RJ. So with no further ado.

Race Face released their new N/W single rings to their portfolio of bike bling about two months ago. This revelation spawned a vast amount of drool for many in the biking community. Race Face has recently been known to give a biker the ability to color coordinate one’s bike to his or her own style, and their new ring lineup is no exception. Coming in with a variety of sizes and colors, all a rider needs to do is decide which is more aesthetically pleasing for one’s self. However, the question remains to be asked, “Does it really work any better?”
The best answer is dependent on your own riding discipline, but I will dwell on what we have found here in the lab. But first a little history. Not too long ago, SRAM released their XX1 crankring design that featured an alternating thickness and a taller tooth profile. This concept, when match with a clutched rear derailleur, eliminated a need for most riders to ditch their guides and front shifting group. The setup works well, but with a cost resulting in wallet weight loss. To enter the market of a 1x and guideless drivetrain, a few companies starting releasing their N/W single ring profiles.

NarrowWide Ring

Now with the history out of the way, on to the good stuff! Race Face did a wonderful job, as usual, with their new ring lineup. The graphics are laser etched on and look spectacular. If the graphics are not your thing, you can reverse the ring for a simple look. The construction is done in such a weight that the 7075-T6 is not only extremely tough, but also attractive and lightweight. My 34T came in at 43 grams, that is 11 grams lighter than the XT 32T ring from my M780. Their available sizes are evenly spaced from 30T to 38T, if you have the legs of Weir that is. A direct mount ring for RF cranks goes as small as 26T though.
I have to admit; it feels weird to ride without a guide or tensioner in some way. The performance makes up for any awkwardness as soon as you hit the bumps. I have plowed into rock gardens, smashed my way down root-infested ravines, and even some nasty creek washouts without a single drop of the chain. The concept of the narrow and wide tooth profile works well at cinching the chain down. The fun part is that I am not even running a clutched rear mech! The bottom line is that the Narrow/Wide profile rings are a great alternative and Race Face did a wonderful job designing theirs.

Check back in as we have more reviews from The Lab – RJ

Tour de Gruene Individual Time Trial

3 Sep

I only do one “race” each year. The Tour de Gruene in Gruene TX. (near New Brunsfels TX) just north of San Antonio TX. Last year was a totally horrid route with lots of climbing and heavy roads (lots of sealcoat). So how did my race go? I’m glad you asked, even if you didn’t.

“I finished in LAST place in my age group (50-54).” “I finished in 00:47:51 at 13.2 mph.” “I totally got my butt kicked.” “The fast man of the day was 00:22:55 at 27.5 mph.” In 2008 Lance Armstrong did it (before coming out of retirement) 00:33:14 at 28.89 mph on a different longer course. If memory holds true Tom Zirbel and one of the Leibowitz boys have done the ITT and Lawson Craddock did the TTT (two man). Some years the real racers or the up and coming racers show up and we get to run our times against the “Big Boys”. We get to see show.

Ok now for the excuses’. I didn’t train, I didn’t eat right, I didn’t lose weight, I didn’t warm up, I rolled out too hard, I didn’t drink early, you can add any others you care to think of.

All of this leads to an asthma attack and puking on the 2nd to the last hill. I found you lose a lot of time stopped beside the road gasping and puking! So yes “I survived,” to finish and that is what counts.

You are invited to join us in November 2nd, 2013 to do yet another new course. The registrations opened on line Wednesday at 7:00 pm. The allotments of rider slots will fill very quickly (days if not hours) so get yourself on line and sign up quick.  http://www.tourdegruene.com/news/individual_time_trial/

This year’s course is better than last year. I say that by looking at the map and profile, not having yet ridden it. We have used the River road section before and I have ridden up the big hill coming out of the river but not the rest of the route. We (our friendly little group “Team Lanterne Rouge”) are hoping to pre-ride the route a time or two very soon.

Timing

Individual Time Trials are a funny thing but not a laughing matter. You can ride lots of miles but if they are not representative of the ITT course they don’t help as much as if you ride a route and distance similar to the ITT. If you are used to doing say 30 or 40 mile joy rides, you are not building for the high explosive demand of a 19 mile ITT. Yes are doing twice the miles but the demand is so much lower. Few amateur bike racers can really give maximum effort for 45 minutes that it will take to win this year. For me I think a time of just over an hour is a good goal. If I can do under 1:10 I’ll be happy. A time around 1:15 is expected and any time over 1:20 I’ll be depressed.    

Course review

The first 10 mile section is on River road. That part we have used in the past is board flat with less than ¼% down grade. The pavement is (was last time I road it 2 years ago) in good condition and rather smooth. It follows the river with a few twists and turns. It will cross the river three times. The bridges are concrete low water crossing type. The transitions from asphalt to concrete and back can be a bit abrupt or jarring. This part should be run 20+mph. The fast guys will be breaking the speed limit. Really they will be averaging above the speed limit. The second part is the unknown for me. We have not used this part of the route in the years that I have ridden the TdGITT. It is mostly climbing. The profile says at mile 10.1 to 11.7 is the climb out of the river valley. This hill I have done in warm up a few years ago. One year the route had us come down it. Then there is a dip to mile 12.7, after that it’s full on climbing to 18.7. The last section is six miles of race pace uphill pull. They have three false flats that should give some relief along the way. The Map My Ride only shows about 1 and 2% grade.

So now you have an idea of what to expect! Come out and do the Tour de Gruene Individual Time Trial with us.

 

I was this quote the other day: “Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity.”

Always Wear Your Helmet

17 Mar

Jeff Helmet
I was riding the other day along a trail I had ridden 100’s of times over the years. When BANG!! I felt like I had been hit in the head with a big hammer. I was dazed to the point that I couldn’t stay on my bike and I fell over.
Let’s back up two hours or so. My buddy and riding partner Kevin and I talked and decided we could get home from work and go ride. We texted back and forth to decide on riding MtBikes. I chose the 2005 GF HiFi (FS)[see “my stable” post]. I wanted to shred some single track. We meet up and I offered to show Kevin a new trail option. Now you need to understand that the City Public Works has had heavy construction equipment down in the Leon Creek Greenbelt for the last few weeks. I think they are upgrading some of the underground pipes that follow the creek bed. The work has been finished in the lower parts. These machines have opened up the creek bed so you can now ride these areas. This promises to be some fast double track as soon as the soil gets some rain on it to flatten the dozer tracks and to pack it down. Right now it’s rough but it would be good for a full suspension MtBike. We turned into this new section and maybe 50 feet in “Pow” the rear tire let go.
I have been running tubeless for about a year now and have sung the praise of tubeless. I found if you run over a big enough hunk of steel rod just right you can flatten the tire. I carry some CO2 cartridges and an inflator, so I spun the wheel around and refilled it. I was trying to get the sealant to plug the hole. It was having nothing to do with it. No way was the sealant going to fix a hole that big. So I pulled out my spare tube and went thru changing the tire by pulling out the tubeless rim liner and putting in the tube. It was a used tube that had been patched. When I got it together it wouldn’t hold air. So I went to pull the wheel back apart when I did a kind MtBiker going by gave me a new tube. By the way rider “Thank you very much”. Then I put the new tube in and aired it up. We took off up this new trail.
Not half a mile later the rear tire is going soft again. I was out of CO2 cartridges and didn’t feel like changing that tire again. So I called my loving wife for a bike change. She was so nice to stop what she was doing and load my 29er in the back of her Toyota 4runner and bring it to me. I walked the half mile or so up into OP Schnabel Park to the pavilion. It is not everyone or every day you can call for a bike change. It is a special feeling to know somebody will help you out like that.
We rode for an hour or so and we set a good fast pace down to Bandera Rd. bridge and back. On the way back I was leading and was cranking along on trails I was very familiar with. This trail I had ridden 100’s of times over the years. When BANG!! I felt like I had been hit in the head with a sledge hammer. I was dazed to the point that I couldn’t stay on my bike and I fell over. I laid on the trail on my back with my legs around my bike and feet still clipped in to the peddles. I took stock of myself, nothing seemed broken. Why was I on the ground? Why was I dizzy? Why is it dark around the edges of my vision? This soon cleared and I sat up and felt dizzy again. I untangled myself from my bike. Kevin was asking if my head was alright. How was my neck? That’s about the time I figured out that my head had hit something hard. I took off my helmet only to find a big hole in it. I had struck a large oak tree that had a limb knot sticking out. I have ridden by that thing for years, never a problem. The moral of the story always wear your helmet! It is on a trail you know well and you’re just cranking along minding your own business that disaster strikes. If I had not had my helmet on I would have been in the hospital, very minimum with a lot of stiches and a concussion. At worst I would never ride again if you know what I mean. Always wear your helmet.
photo (4)
I see riders every time I ride that don’t wear a helmet. What are they thinking? Are they not thinking? Do they believe they are invincible? Do they really think it could never happen to them? You see a family riding along all the sweet little kids on their bikes wearing helmets and the mother also but then you see dad no helmet. He is responsible for his kids welfare he makes sure they are wearing a helmet but won’t wear one himself. “I just don’t need it” he may say, or “We are going slow”. Well buddy it isn’t always the speed that gets you, it is that six foot fall head first on the concrete. As a parent you need to be there for your kids when they are growing up. Not someone brain damaged. How sad it would be to deprive a kid of their parent just because you think a helmet looks dumb. Riding without a helmet LOOKS REAL DUMB!

Tour de Cure

28 Feb

2012 Team Photo TdCI proudly ride for Team Lantern Rouge. We are a group of friends who like to ride. We get together when we can. One of our primary group rides each year is the Tour de Cure. This benefits the American Diabetes Association. We all know people who are directly affected by this disease. Both adults and young people suffer. I have several friends ranging from teens to seventies that are living with diabetes. It affects their lives and the lives of the whole family. They all have made changes in diet that can help. They all are taking treatment, but that won’t stop the ravages of the disease in the long run.
Diabetes is treatable but even very good treatment is not curing the disease, not yet at least. Some things man cannot change but this is one that can be improved. Maybe a cure can be found. Remember your medical history. Polio was crippling kids and a cure or rather a vaccine was found. Polio no longer cripples or kills the children like it did. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to do the same with the disease diabetes?

Most of us will never see the toll on the day to day lives of these people our friends and neighbors. Do you know anyone who is diabetic? Do you even need to ask them what it is like? To watch everything you eat, to take your medication on time every time. Knowing that every time you make a mistake; eat the wrong thing or drink the wrong thing or forget to watch the clock for your next dose that you could be putting yourself in the hospital. Those same mistakes may do nothing today but what about ten or twenty years down the road? What we take for granted like a cold bear after a hot afternoon ride. What is the effect on the body if you’re diabetic? Is it the one that will start you on the road to blindness or the crippling reality of amputation? That is the reality that those who live with diabetes live with every day for the rest of your life.

The American Diabetes Association is working diligently to fund research to find a cure, and to educate the community on how to prevent & manage diabetes. We are in this fight for people like our friends like Mario (a Red Rider), Newman, Big Joe (senior) or Zach (teenager) and for the over 26 million people diagnosed with the disease across the United States. Please support of our continuing efforts and your commitment to Stop Diabetes! To Learn more about our special events & programs, feel free to visit http://www.diabetes.org/sanantonio

To support us directly in the Tour de Cure you can make a direct donation to The American Diabetes Association thru our rider page. I’m willing to put forward the hard work to do the 74 mile ride this year can you put forth a donation to demonstrate your support?
http://tour.diabetes.org/site/TR?px=5439854&pg=personal&fr_id=8657

Hot Riding, Riding Hot

20 Feb

Hot Riding
This is the time of year to start enjoying riding our bikes. Here in south Texas we are already getting some days that are in the upper 70’s. I feel sorry for you fellow riders who are suffering in doors on the trainer or who are not getting any ride time due to cold and/or snow. I had the opportunity to ride the roadie the past two days. Nothing too big, just enough to shake the cobwebs out and to blow a little of the rust out of the pipes.
We get to enjoy nine or ten months of good riding weather. If you don’t mind four of those being blazing hot! Take notice of the temperature shown in the photo above of my old Bell f20 speedometer. It is reading 112.0 Fahrenheit. That photo was taken June 16, 2012 on the Leon Creek Greenbelt pathway. June is a warm month but it is July, August and September you have to watch out for here. Just as some in the northern areas can’t ride in the cold months we have to be careful of the hot ones. You might say but that is dry heat! Sorry to tell you that much of the moisture that feeds up in to the plains and mid-west came from the gulf coast right across south Texas. We spend most of our year in the 70% to 80% humidity range.
What do we do you ask? We will try to ride early in the day when the overnight low has taken the temperature all the way down in to the 80’s. Riding in the relative cool of the morning helps but that is not always available.
Yes, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate if you even think about it at these temperatures it may be too late. If you get the least bit behind you’re done for. You can’t drink enough or fast enough to replenish while you are riding. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t had to stop and relive yourself (peeing) every one to two hours you’re not drinking enough for the high temperatures. At two hours you must stop and drink a quart if you haven’t had to relive yourself. When we ride in the heat we each take two 20 oz water bottles and will drink one every 7 to 10 miles or less. Planning on stopping to get drinks every 15 to 20 miles. We will refill bottles several times in a 50 or 60 mile ride.
We always try to ride as a buddy system, trying to always ride in pairs or groups. We learn to watch out for the signs of overheating. The Red Face, not tracking a straight line, dropping back and falling off the pace, not conversing, sort or wrong answers to questions, quick temper, lethargic or slow comprehension, cramps. Knowing what to do is just as important and recognizing the problem.
When people are working outside in the heat and you tell them they should take a break they recognize they should. It’s work and everybody knows that if you’re working hard in the heat you will need breaks. When a rider is overheated he may not recognize he needs a break. He may not feel the heat getting to him. He has the wind blowing on him as he rides. This can fool you in to exceeding safe heat limits. Riders may resist stopping or taking a break. What to do? Play weak! Get the overheated rider to wait for you, tell them you’re over cooked. Slow down to a very easy pace; get them to slow to a coasting pace. Start drinking, even little sips, making a show of it, you’re trying to encourage the thought of drinking. The overheated one likely won’t recognize they haven’t been drinking enough. Make sure they have water and or sport drink to gulp. If not, it is imperative that you get this to them. They are losing the ability to comprehend what is best for them. Stop someplace to refill your water, if you can’t find some place immediately share yours. Pouring or dumping cool (not cold) water on the head, neck and shoulders is a good way to get the brain temperature down to the point they can think again. Ice water can be dangerous. You can cause shock if you get too aggressive with the cooling.
In a case like this I have never seen a convenience store clerk not let a rider sit in the stores air conditioning while he drinks a large sports drink (that he bought at this store). Getting a troubled rider in to cool air is best. Fill them with fluid and sit them out of the sun in the air conditioning and they will revive in short order. When they do don’t let them push on, they will have a lot of residual heat that will take hours to dissipate. It will also take hours to get the fluid back in them. When a steak is overcooked you can’t make it rare! Only cool time will fix this. It is best if they get someone to pick them up. If you’re going to continue riding ride slow, coast down hills.
Some of the stores around here are carrying a sport drink call “Pickle Juice”. This stuff tastes nasty! Think of taking and drinking the juice out of a jar of pickles. This stuff works! In my case when I’m getting cramps I throw down a little bottle (2.5 oz) and drink some water and in a couple in minutes I’m fine. I have used it for the last couple of Tour de Cure rides with great success.
Take care of each other and be smart, enjoy the ride, protect the rider.

Pi(e) Day, March 14 as in Pi 3.14

19 Feb

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

A young friend was visiting from Boston the other day. She told me about Pi(e) day. Some of her friends in the Boston area have started a new thing of eating pie on March 14. You might ask why March 14, well I’m glad you asked, even if you didn’t, because you don’t care or that you have already figured it out. March 14 because in mathematics Pi is 3.14. It is just a natural progression if you think this way to 3/14 the date.
They have a get together and everyone who knows how to bake a pie brings one. I guess if you can’t bake and don’t have a significant other who can bake like I do then you might have to buy one. You get extra credit if your pie is completely eaten. You even get a bigger bonus if it is the first pie gone, oh and no eating your own pie unless it is really good or you happen to really love it.
Fore thought and planning should go in to choosing what pie to make. If at all possible all the pies should be different. I personally have a sweet tooth and having grown up in the south I love pecan pie. I love the roasted pecans, the rest of the filling is good also but it is the pecans that get me. I’m trying to find someone who makes it with very little filling and a whole lot more pecans. But I digress. There are so many great pies out there that it would be easy to have every one of your friends make a different pie. Just think of all the kinds of pie there is. If you say I can only think of a few kinds of pie! Fear not Wikipedia® list well over a hundred kinds of pie. Some are hot pies some are cold pies, some are main course and some desert. Whatever kind of pie you want to make will qualify for pie day. Even mud pies but I wouldn’t recommend eating those.
So plan for Pi(e) day March 14. The following was posted on Fatcyclist blog:
1. Comment by Jeff Bike | 01.15.2013 | 6:01 pm
As long as you are talking dates don’t forget Pie day. It will be held in every home in the world this year. So mark your calender for March 14 (3.14 get it Pi day). Everyone should eat pie on Pi day.
2. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 01.15.2013 | 6:29 pm
@JeffBike Very Good! Maybe we could get Fatty to move the 100MoN to March 14th in the future. It would be so Fatty.
3. Comment by Jenni | 01.16.2013 | 11:15 am
Pi(e) day should be the nexus of our Fatty family get together. I think we should really start thinking seriously about it (though admittedly it’s too late for this year to plan. We see Fatty is extremely busy, so maybe 2013 we set the bar and hold it, and if he can come, he can come, and then it can become an annual event 2014. I super love the idea. Hanging out with you all has been some of my favorite times ever.
Stay tuned on this developing story…

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