Friday, October 31, 2014

Fade to black

I've done almost nothing since the Bellevue CX races. Well, that's not true. I've had some caramel apples and some Halloween candy, plus a decent amount of peppermint stick ice cream.

And, really, that's OK. It might be detrimental to being fast at Frosty Cross, but I really like peppermint stick ice cream — and it only comes around once a year.

With the time change coming up, it's time to start thinking about the winter and next season and everything. I groused about the lack of daylight since October 1, but we're looking at months of the same stuff now.

This is, of course, how it goes in Nebraska at this time of year.

So core stuff starts soon. And then trainer rides. I'll get the 2015 road bike built up here in a few weeks. I'd like to maybe upgrade to Force 22, as well. I guess I should keep doing 'crossy stuff, too.

I'm going to need a flashlight, though, I guess. Dark in the morning, dark at night. So it goes.

Friday, October 24, 2014

This explains everything

Just take a look at that Strava file. Just take a good look at it. Twenty-point-three miles in 55 minutes and 8 seconds. A nice tempo really.

But really soak that file in. Chris Spence, noted Omaha-area Man With The Hammer (and also a really nice guy), riding like a bat out of hell around what appears to be a middle school track. Possibly early in the morning in the dark.

That he was going fast on this ride says nothing about why Chris is fast. The fact that he's followed it up with another few HUNDRED laps over the past few days is why he's fast. He has the ability to be extremely bored for a very long time, which is something needed in order to be fast. You have to be able to put your mind in a place that allows you to be tired and sore and uncomfortable and ... yeah, bored.

Super bored. Like riding in circles for an hour bored. That's how you get fast.

There's a middle school track visible from my front window. I'm there.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hail, October!

October. Oh, man OCTOBER! As I was heading home on my bike today, I decided once and for all that October is clearly the best month of the year. Challengers: June, July and December. But October is the best.


  • The weather. It's positively dumb right now. Cool mornings and evenings, just-right temps during the day. No humidity. And when it's cold, it's usually not cold-cold. (Although I should note that the first year I ran the Trek Store, the mid-October breast cancer awareness ride featured snow and sleet.)
  • The bike racing. Cyclocross. Just one hour of power. Much shorter training sessions, too. I can go to a CX race and not blow the entire day. Well, I can still blow the entire day but I don't HAVE to. 
  • The beer. Sam Adams Octoberfest might be my favorite beer. We're almost done with a case of it (I've had it for a while) and I might get another.
  • Apple cider. And caramel apples. Duh. 
  • The baseball. Nevermind. 
  • The fall colors are OK, too. It looks awesome out there.
  • Peppermint Stick ice cream should be here VERY SOON.
Of course, on the other side of all of this is November. Bleak, barren, starting-to-get-cold November. Or, depending on the current weather pattern, actually cold November. And snowy. But still bleak and barren. I think the color of the sky in November is pretty much always gray. 

And then we have darkness for three months. 

So yeah, October. Go soak it up while you can. Time's a wasting. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Reflections on cars

If I could pull it off, I'd ride my bike most places.

I mean, I ride a lot now, but it would be better to ride it all the time. I say this despite owning a car that provides great entertainment (and I suppose transportation) value. But with kids and work schedules and school schedules, it's not possible to do it all the time. Not yet, at least.

We had a fun week in cars here. Well, actually it was the end of last week and a little bit of this week. And it wasn't really that much fun. So, basically, we had car troubles.

Chris' car is a 2008 Toyota Rav4. It's been the workhorse for the past few years and has over 100,000 miles on it. It's not fancy, but it's reliable and solid and biggish and it's fine. She left the dome light on overnight on (last) Wednesday, which made for an entertaining Thursday morning. In short, we tried to jump it, but ended up sending her off with the kids and leaving me to ride to work.

We got one of those portable battery pack jump starter things that night and tried to get it going. That did not work. We bought that in hopes of avoiding the need to have it towed, but ended up having to tow it anyway. That was Friday, when I drove everybody to where they needed to be, called a tow truck and rolled in late to work. (That reminds me ... I need to take that battery charger thing back.)

On Tuesday, I took Chris' car to the Toyota dealership to have some recall work done. They gave me a 2013 Camry SE. That's the "sporty" one, though driving it still reminded you it was a Camry. Anyway, because they were aiming at racecar styling, I drove it like one. It was less exciting than you'd think ... because it's a Camry.

By Tuesday night, everything was back to normal. We spent a good deal of money making our cars go, much like many people do every year. I feel like we should ride bikes more, because I've never paid $120 to tow a bike. Nor have I paid $100 for a battery (but I bet that's coming someday with electronic shifting).

Anyway, ride bikes more or you'll get ebola probably.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Satisfaction and temptation

Matt Steele took this photo. See the rest of the album here.

When I mapped out my cyclocross season a couple of months ago, this weekend was going to be the end of it — with the exception of Frosty Cross at the end of November. Daylight is waning, the school year is well underway and training time is at a minimum. And I'm just kinda tired of the routine right now.

That said, I raced pretty well this weekend. That doesn't mean I was anywhere near the top of the results — because that's not possible for a guy with my limited abilities. Not against our 1/2 field. But I felt good and I made moves and I raced people and felt good about my race and efforts at the end of both days.

And the good vibes from the weekend are causing an internal struggle. I'm supposed to be backing off a little, but I feel more like charging ahead full gas and seeing what I can make of the next six or seven weeks. I'm still planning on ending everything (for real!) at Frosty Cross, but maybe there will be a bit more to it between now and then.

For now, I need more coffee. And maybe some ibuprofen. My body is reminding me of its advancing age this morning.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Just about there

My abbreviated cyclocross season effectively ends this weekend. I'm inexplicably signed up for both days of racing in Bellevue, but after that ... well, that's almost it. I'm going to race Frosty Cross in Le Mars at the end of November, most likely.

Dealing with darkness both before work and after work, the desire to get outside and rip around is waning. I did pretty well this week, but that was a rarity. And riding the trainer? Man, it's too nice for that.

Plus, I've really been looking forward to the long, steady, easy fall rides on the road. Just go ride for a few hours, maybe hit a climb or two hard. Ultimately, just go crank out some miles. I need some of those rides right now.

But first, two more days of pain in Bellevue. It looks like Mark has a good course built, so I'm looking forward to that. And Sunday, it might rain and turn out to be pretty cyclocrossy. Seems like a good way to go out for the year.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Another year older

For most people cycling dreams start out young. You spend a bit of time in the driveway, and then the sidewalk, and then down the street and then pretty soon you're all the way across town. Sometimes you make the next big move and decide to give it a real shot:

If it's meant to be, you get to keep on riding, and sometimes you even get to travel the world. 

The weather is not always great, however. Actually, sometimes making a bike go fast requires a lot of time in crap weather. 

Sometimes you ride really well and have all the answers.

Sometimes you have no answers and you hate bikes afterward.

Hardware happens sometimes. That's super nice.

Happy birthday, Brady. Let's get some coffee sometime.