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Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Weigh In

I weighed in at the running club this morning and I’ve managed to reverse my weight loss problem. I’m back up to 156, a gain of three pounds in two weeks.

Don’t ask what I had to eat in order to put that weight back on…and I promise I won’t tell.

In any event, this is really good news. In basic terms I doubled what I normally eat. At times that wasn’t easy, but I managed. Now all that’s required is finding a happy balance.

I was hammered by rain on the ride down this morning but it looks like the sun is trying to poke through the clouds… I just might have a dry ride home.

My Girls Show Dad What They’re Made Of – And It’s All Good!

The Official Kickoff To Summer was today at my girl’s school (as I mentioned in my last post).  They’ve always got a couple of bounce houses and a dunk tank that the kids can play on for a while, then we have a nice little picnic catered by Famous Dave’s BBQ (Dear God in Heaven, if you have a chance, check them out – it’s good).  Thank goodness I put in that 25 miler this morning, because they stagger the kids – Josie went through first and Isabella an hour later – this meant that one of either me or Mrs. BgddyJim had to eat twice!

Well you know I took one for the team and had a second delicious pulled pork sammich with enough barbecue sauce on it to drown a small animal – or a quarter pound of pulled pork (and a piece of watermelon and a bottle of H2O).

In any event, they added a new inflatable climbing toy this year – that had to be 20′ tall.  The kids get into a one size fits all harness that snugs up, and they’re attached to an emergency rope in case they let go, and up they go.  Josie dug right in (after a little convincing from papa) and made it about half way:

Not bad for 5 years old…

Then came the dunk tank where she really showed what she could do – this will take two pictures, read the captions:

Right handed toss – she did miss, but not a bad effort…

Now look at this:

Nope – switch to left handed…and it’s a bullseye – that kid in the tank went DOWN! Never seen a kid that could switch so seamlessly between hands.

Then after second lunch it was Bella’s turn.  And that kid didn’t disappoint:

Starting out

Right out of the gate she ran out of real estate and quickly changed directions


The kid looks like spider girl for crying out loud.

This is where she ran out of space. She got one row higher but eventually fell off…

Now my girl made it up pretty high – not to the top but pretty stinking close, but that’s not what impressed me…  The kid didn’t give up.  When she got stuck, she tried every path and every angle that she could until her hands just couldn’t hold her up there any more.  I’ve never seen that girl fight so hard to accomplish something.  It was inspiring to watch and it really made me proud to be her dad.  In the end, what was important was not that she didn’t make it – it’s that she didn’t quit until her body failed her.  I couldn’t have asked for a stronger daughter.  YES!





A New First…

My girls have a picnic every year on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend and I try to make it when I can.  That made an afternoon ride impossible so I shifted my ride to first thing this morning.  It was pretty windy out but because I made friends with the wind a few weeks ago I wasn’t fretting it.  Clouds were plentiful but the local radar showed all clear.  I wore a loose shirt to make the ride a little more work and headed out.  The first mile was with the wind followed by two with a cross tail wind and then I started into the wind.  It was ugly but survivable because it was only a few miles.  The next leg is where the ride got a little long, six miles into a cross head wind that got old after about three miles.  I put my head down and just concentrated on spinning the pedals around as fast as I could.  At mile 13 my ride got fun – 15 mph wind at my back.  I shifted to the big ring  and got to cookin’…for all of two miles before the clouds opened up – so much for the local radar.  After about a mile in that mess I started chuckling to myself – the rain really wasn’t all that bad.  Sure it was a bummer, riding through that much water would obviously require a bike wash this afternoon, but I was very comfortable as long as I wiped my glasses off every now and again so I could see.  At mile 15 I came upon a choice – either keep going or turn right and cut 7 miles off of my ride and call 18 good for the day.  You know which one I chose.

The rain continued for another 2 miles before it quit and it started clearing up  rather quickly and the rest of my ride was quite enjoyable, even if I did have to ride through soaked shoes and socks.  I met my goal for the day and kept my speed moderate at 18.5 mph so I’d be fresh for a long ride and run tomorrow.

So my “first” was not riding in the rain – it was enjoying riding in the rain.  It was a fun ride for sure.

And This Is Why I Dig Endomondo…

I have written often about Endomondo, my tracking software of choice, and about many of the Challenges that I take part in. I received the following email this morning:

“Hi Jim

The month is coming to an end and we will soon be selection this months winners across the prize levels. You are currently at the gold prize level with 403.55 miles logged.

Don’t forget to log your miles no later than the last day of the month to have them count in this months prize selection”.

That should be well over 500 by the time the end of next week rolls around…

I’m currently in 8th place of over 400 participating local riders. Nationally I’m 864 of 24,342.


TdF Photos Pt Deux


I have it on good authority that it takes the average rider 2 hours to climb L’Alpe D’Huez.  Lance did it in 38 minutes.  The record of 37min:35sec is held by Marco Pantani – after he’d already ridden 189 km that day.  Lance’s poker move with Jan Ulrich on the Alpe in 2001 is legend (click on the link – it’s an awesome story, unless you happen to be German).



From L’Alpe D’Huez to Lance…

Exclusive 2004 TdF Photos

Oh have I got a treat to share!!!  Matt, the owner of my LBS, put together a photo package for my kids so they could see what France is like – both of my daughters are huge Tour de France fans (as is their father, we started watching coverage together last year).  Matt was there in 2004.  There are so many awesome photos that I can’t possibly put them all in one post so I’ll put these together in a series – marked with its own category (TdF).  Without further ado:










































HOLY S#!T – Eddie Merckx!!!











The Plan

When it comes to my fitness and competition with others, there are some things I can live with and some things I can’t.

When it came to running I was perfectly happy with an 8-9 minute mile pace, that was the best I could do with the time I was willing to put into it.  My fitness life has always followed an equation:  G(oal)= I(nvested) T(ime) x E(ffort) / R(eality) / F(easability) x D(etermination) or GIT ‘ER F‘in’ Done if you like.

Cycling has proved to be a little different. Not being able to keep up with some of the fastest guys in the Tuesday group isn’t sitting well with me, and my drive to keep up is rare – I believe that I can be fast enough, it just comes down to a question of how much do I invest, in terms of time and method, in the effort. In other words, how far do I go to get there?

I had kicked around actually following a regimented training plan to meet the goal but that would indeed pull some of the fun out of my daily riding – call it a sacrifice of ‘now’ for later satisfaction. My LBS pro suggested rather that I just enjoy myself and let the rest work out in the wash – and that’s exactly what I’d planned on doing… Until I came up with a way to do both, sans regimented riding.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

For now I’ve upped my daily miles – my normal daily ride was 16 miles.  For the last few days and for the foreseeable future I’m moving that up to 25, while keeping the 16 miler for days when I’m short on time or when I need a recovery ride.  The additional nine miles only adds 27-29 minutes to my workout.  I’ll still keep my 30 mile ride on Saturday (with my run) and my normal Friday 35.5 unless time requires the distance be shortened (as it will tomorrow morning).  The 16 mile ride was anything but stale but it’s been a little too short lately.  This will help my endurance as I’ve been tiring out around the 15 mile mark over the last couple of Tuesday evening rides (imagine that, eh?).

The only other major change will be how I view hills.  I’ve begun attacking them and then soft pedaling on the way down to catch my breath in lieu of just getting up them.  There are some pretty decent hills on the Tuesday ride and I’ll have to be a little stronger on those once I get my endurance right so I may as well start now rather than wait to find out that I should have been doing this all along.

I turned in a pretty solid performance over the last couple of days with a 19.2 mph average in stiff winds on Tuesday and a 19.8 mph average in a 7 mph breeze yesterday (355 watts average on the last four miles into a the wind with a few peaks at 500 W on the uphill grades – 7 mph headwind, 1% grade, 20 mph average according to the cycle computer) and I’m a lot happier with the 25 mile ride even if the pavement is quite a bit choppier on most of the loop.

So basically, nothing really changes, I’m just upping my miles as time allows a little bit.  I get the best of both worlds; increased endurance and I enjoy more time on my bike – all that remains is to see how that intersects with reality.

As for the 10% axiom (only increase mileage week over week by 10%), I’m awesome enough not to have to worry about that.  The legs are feeling quite good this morning after two straight solid efforts.  No pain or stiffness whatsoever.  If that changes for any reason, I know what to do.

Well I’ll Be, Happy Cycling Anniversary To Me…

One year ago, Monday, I bought a cheap, beat up and rusted Huffy mountain bike with eyes on a triathlon. One year ago today I went on my first real training ride – 4 miles in 17:34 – and absolutely busted my ass to do that. That’s an average pace of 13.8 mph. I was also averaging about 13 miles a week back then – all running – and couldn’t manage better than an 8-8:40 mile pace.

In the last year I’ve bought a Trek mountain bike (I completed my tri’s on that), a Cannondale SR400 road bike and a Trek 5200 road bike for myself, a K2 mountain bike for my wife, 2 mountain bikes for my eldest daughter and my youngest has three bikes of various sizes (some of which we’ve had for a few years).

I’ve put more than 3,300 miles on my bikes in that year, completed a couple of Olympic length tri’s and had a hell of a great time in the process. I average around 120 miles a week between running and riding, my riding pace is around 20-21 mph and my running pace is 7:10 – 7:39 – 8:00 min/mile depending on the distance.

I’ve lost my last 15 lbs, dropped my resting heart rate from 70 to 55, lowered my blood pressure and have changed from a ho-hum existence to one that I truly enjoy.

One year ago today I made my life fun.

Happy Anniversary To Me.

UPDATE: I celebrated my cycling anniversary as a cycling anniversary should be celebrated…by kicking out of work a little early and hitting the road. 25 miles @ 19.8 mph – just a shade over 1h:15m. What a great day for a ride. Celebration dinner: Pizza – big time!

You know you’re a cyclist when…

There are many pieces of evidence one can use as justification to consider oneself an endurance cyclist I’d hardly want to list them all but here’s a few:

You’re riding in wind that sucks the life out of you – and it makes you laugh.  You figure a 25mph crosswind is a fine time to do some intervals with the extra resistance.

You push hard enough that you puke – and that makes you laugh.

Just before ralphing you realize that you’re more than halfway home and you’re so bummed that you consider adding another ten or fifteen miles just so you can prolong the enjoyment of the ride – even though you absolutely do not have the time to fit that in.

You hadn’t bothered checking your average speed because you figured riding into the crosswind and wind slowed you down too much, so even after doing some intervals, but because you were stopped at every stop sign and stop light, you figure you’ll just call it a nice “easy” ride.  Three miles to home and you check just for giggles to make sure you’re above 17 mph so you can push with the wind at your back to get your speed up to a respectable 17.5 in tough conditions – your computer shows 19 mph so you kick it anyway to try to get the average up to 19.5.

You finish with your 25 mile ride, the longest distance you could realistically complete in the time available and still meet family obligations, and you long for your Century.

These all happened to me yesterday and I can’t even begin to articulate how much fun I had.  The weather had been cloudy and chilly all morning but the clearing (and wind) began around 1:00 in the afternoon…by the time I was riding it was mostly sunny and 73.  On the agenda for today is another 25 and the forecast is for completely sunny and 80 with winds below 10 mph.  Perfect!

What are your favorite “You know you’re an endurance athlete when” moments?

An Obscure Couple of Maintainence Tips

I’ve run into a couple of interesting, but obscure maintenance tips that I had to take care of on my 5200 over the last couple of days. First of all, my brake pads were looking like they were starting to wear a little low so, having an older Trek, I took one of the pads in to make sure I got the right replacements. On inspecting them, Matt at Assenmacher’s suggested that I still had a couple of seasons left on them (the good news) but that the pad I brought in had a couple of tiny pieces of aluminum – presumably from the rim or road grime – stuck in he pad. Those had to be dug out – I used a safety-pin to keep the holes as small as possible. Being new to the whole high-end bike maintenance deal, I had no clue. Lesson learned though, all four were cleaned before I turned in for the night… Of course cleaning the brake pads from time to time when you’re dealing with a wheel set that can set you back more than $1,000 only makes sense – now.

The second neat little item I ran into has to do with tires. Just bopping around the internet, I found a couple of forum discussions that recommended “wiping” the tires after riding through sand, tiny pieces of gravel or, gulp, glass so said schmutz doesn’t imbed into the rubber to cause a flat later. The recommendation, of course, was to do so with a gloved hand. On the front tire, just ahead of the brakes. On the rear tire, at the seat tube.  The idea behind fishing your gloved hand between the seat tube and the tire for the rear wheel is that if you reach behind the rear brake and your hand grabs on the tire your hand could get sucked into the brake and get stuck.  This is not easy to do but I have managed to wipe away a few particles that could have gotten stuck.  However, truth be told, it’s just a little too dangerous for me to incorporate into my normal riding.  My worry is becoming too complacent and accidentally missing the tire and shoving my hand into the spokes.  No thanks, too big a risk.  That said, I have started to inspect my tires after every ride to make sure I haven’t picked anything up on my ride.  I actually found a small piece of a staple that had managed to stick into the rubber the other day – had I missed this, over time it could have eventually worked into the tube and caused a flat.