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Daily Archives: April 14, 2012

My Crim Goal May Need A Revision

One of my goals for 2012 is to run the Crim ten mile race in less than 83 minutes. I’m going for 79. My run today, a 7.2 miler – after a great 35.5 mile effort yesterday on the bike – was awesome. I didn’t ride down to the running club due to rain in the forecast. While I hate riding in the rain, I was really hoping the skies would open up a little for the run…I was ready to go today. I ended up running with a good friend of mine that we call Angry John… He’s a bigger fella (hockey player) but he’s exceptionally fast. My goal for the run was to break 60 minutes with a hope of around 58 which was faster than I ran it all last year. I also wanted to run a negative split, a rarity for me as I’ve always had a tough time with pacing, more often than not I start out too fast.

Our first mile was at 7:54 and we managed to slow that down a touch for an 8:08 second mile. That was followed by an 8:10 and an 8:18… That’s when we put the hammer down. Our last three were 8:02, 7:55 and 7:48. We ended up at 56:50. To say that I was stoked would be an understatement. Our group has always considered the 8 minute mile the cutoff between running and jogging. I’ve been close before, on a 5k, but never could break that on anything longer. Today was a straight up 8 flat, but that was after a big effort yesterday on the bike…and I felt great till the finish. It just keeps getting better.

This reminds me of a day, long ago, I was only six months sober and an old timer promised me that if I’d just stay sober, life would get so good that I’d actually say that it just can’t get any better – and if I keep hanging in there…it will.

I’ve since been in that position dozens of times since, and it did, every time, get better. In ways I never would have guessed.

On top of that Josie, just ten minutes ago, figured out how to ride her bike on her own without anybody holding her up to start. Family rides are about to get a lot more fun. This is going to be a great summer.

How Much Faster Is A Road Bike Than A Mountain Bike?

I’ve written often about the differences between road an mountain bikes – and even a “how to” on making a mountain bike fast on a budget.  But what’s the raw data on the difference?  I use Endomondo as a sports tracker so I actually have hard historical data on the two.  Now, it must be stated prior to the examination of the data that there is a large quality gap between my mountain bike and my road bike.  My mountain bike, a 2008 Trek 3700, is high end entry level while my road bike, a ’99 Trek 5200, is a legitimate high end race bike (even if it is older).

That said, here’s the data:

  • Cycling, sport

    • One hour 20.42 mi
    • 10 miles 26m:13s
    • 20 km 33m:49s
    • 50 km 1h:35m:59s
  • Mountain biking

    • One hour 16.44 mi
    • 10 miles 33m:41s
    • 20 km 44m:32s
    • 50 km 1h:55m:08s

All of the personal bests above are from solo rides, though some of the mountain biking miles occurred on hard packed dirt roads while the road bike miles obviously occurred only on paved roads.  Seven minutes over ten miles is a big deal – so is four miles in one hour. If you’re wondering why the  larger minute difference between the one hour and 10 miles/20 km times, I can sprint for ten or twelve miles before I need to slow it down for a rest.

There are some obvious changes that can be made to a mountain bike to make it faster as I detailed in the previously linked post, chief among them switching out the knobby tires for slicks, a cost of $40-$50 but in my personal experience, this only allows for a  1-1.5 mph increase.  In fact, I ended up “gearing out” with the slick tires (and aero bars) while riding downhill.  In 21st gear (my highest on the mtb) I couldn’t pedal fast enough to make the bike go any faster – I ended up having to coast.  I obviously don’t have that problem with my road bike – at least not on the hills in southeastern Michigan.

The big advantage with a mountain bike, in terms of fitness, on the other hand is that you’re working harder to push the fat tires – you literally burn more calories to go slower – a 30-60% increase in calories burned as a matter of fact, depending on the terrain.

UPDATE:  I have a second, companion post, to this one in which I explored the difference between typical mountain bike tires and slicks here.

ADDENDUM 1:  Since writing this post the mountain biking numbers haven’t changed but the road bike numbers have gone up considerably:

  • Cycling, sport
    • One hour 23.64 mi
    • 10 miles 24m:28s
    • 20 km 30m:58s
    • 50 km 1h:20m:37s
    • 50 miles 2h:10m:03s
    • 100 km 2h:44m:25s
    • 100 miles 4h:36m:40s

The Benefits of Fitness Go WAY Beyond Feeling Good.

Excerpted from an email I sent to my mentor last August 25th:

I’m celebrating my 100th burger burned off of my gut today – that 15 miler this morning got me right at one hundred since June 1st.

Here are some interesting statistics:

-I lost eight pounds since then and gained a butt load of muscle.

-My waist size went from 32 to 30 (I haven’t worn 30” jeans since high school – and I weigh 30 lbs more than I did then [Ed. Remember, this is a good thing – I was severely underweight in high school]).

-All told, 100 burgers works out to 54,305 calories.

-I burned 12,506 of those from running.

-Considering that I would have been running anyway, in the two and a half months since I’ve started biking I’ve burned 41,799 more calories than I would normally.

–Finally, the 100 burgers or 54,305 calories doesn’t include the changes to:

-My resting heart rate; which went from 70 beats a minute (low end of average), to 58  (athlete [Ed.  I’m now in the low 50’s]).


-My heart will beat approximately 6,307,200 fewer times this year – technically that should be adjusted for exercising – where it’s pumping at 140 bpm – let’s see, 35 hours and 44 minutes multiplied by 140 = 300,160 x 4 (to make it twelve months) – divide that by two because my heart would be beating at 70 bpm anyway:  600,320, take that from 6,307,200 – 5,706,880 fewer beats this year alone.  That’s more than 57 Million fewer beats over ten years (give or take).

Now, if you go by the “you only have so many beats on your ticker”, which is admittedly dubious, 57,000,000 beats fewer in ten years is a big damn deal.  More rationally, as the ticker is a muscle, the more fit a muscle is, the better it works, the fewer problems it will give a person in the future.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share an interesting piece of trivial math…  And if it’s wrong, I am not a mathematician for my day job.

Saturday’s Motivational Music…

For an inspiring ride (or run)…  Good luck keeping it under 20 mph with this sound track:

And just because Korn is so awesome:

Inspriational Blogger… It may be so…never would have guessed.

Ashley at Amateur Healthy Girl nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award and I’m really stoked to be nominated again – especially by someone who runs double the miles I do – on one of my good weeks.  She seems like “good people” and it really shows in her posts.  What really hit me was the last sentence in her description of my blog:  “I love the ones about real people who have to balance fitness with real life.”

That about sums me up to a tee.  I’m just a normal guy who likes to ride a bike, run some and throw a swim in there every once in a while – oh yeah, and write about the experience.  I love good times and noodle salad.

So Ashley, thank you, it is much appreciated.

I’ll try to come up with seven more tidbits:

1.  I used to be very much into politics – I majored in Political Science in college for about ten minutes.  I blame this choice on my high school Poli-sci teacher – at the end of the year I still didn’t know how he voted.  This was not the case in college.  My professor wore his affiliation on his sleeve and he cared nothing for politics, just his ideology.  I dropped after my second class because I wanted to learn about political science, not be indoctrinated by some yahoo.

2.  Fitness is the only thing that put politics in the back seat for me, and I’m infinitely happier for it.

3.  I am happiest on my bike, all alone, pushing my hardest to beat my last time.  It’s hard to explain, and I actually wish, at times, that I could take a nice easy ride and check out the scenery.  That doesn’t make me happy though.

4.  I love to cook on the grill.

5.  I’m a huge Detroit Red Wings fan.  My wife and I were married on the night they won their first Stanley Cup in I think it was 34 years – June 7, 1997.  The hall was deserted by 7:00 that night because most of our family members went home to watch the game.  My best man went home and grabbed his TV and another friend of mine got some co-ax cable out of his truck and patched into the cable on the roof of the hall – we watched the game and had a fantastic time.

6.  I  am infinitely patient with anyone who doesn’t bullshit themselves, and have none for those who do by blaming others or making excuses.

7.  I’m a huge hair band fan.  Motley Crue, Skid Row, Tora Tora Tora, Ratt, Poison, Warrant, Slaughter, Old Bon Jovi (my first concert)…  I’m also a metal head – Metallica (pre Black), Iron Maiden, Megadeth, White Zombie, Korn – it’s all good…  My all time favorite is Stone Temple Pilots.

My inspiring blog roll hasn’t changed:

Splat Kerplunk:  If you’re into God, this blog’s for you.

I hate to beat a dead horse, but Michael Fioretti runs a tight blog:  It’s all about the legs

Steven Francisco, the Blue Hen Cyclist writes like I wish I could:  Blue Hen Cyclist

Christos at Christostriathlon1… The guy writes two blogs – one in his native language and one in English – and his gravatar is awesome.

TheShowMeCajun:  Cliff is a guy that struggles to stay in the game, just like I did…  No matter how far he strays, he just won’t quit.  He keeps coming back.

Photobotos:  I know nothing about Charlie & Tom, but those two get around the blogosphere.  It seems as though they’ve “liked” every post that I read, or darn near it.

Mymultipersonality:  The author is quite awesome and does email interviews with other triathletes, which is a cool twist.  She’s recently kicked butt all over her bike time and it’s all kind of inspirational.