I had nothing going on this morning. Nowhere to be for three hours and I’d never gone on a bike quest in my state. Matt likes to say about his long Sunday rides when asked where he’s going, “I’m going to walk out the door in the morning, find out which way the wind is blowing and I’ll head into it”. The only time I’d ever done that was down in the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina… That was not to be the case after today. I was going on a quest – to climb, to assault my legs, to get them to a point where I could say, “shut up legs”! I’ve never done that, gone on a ride without a set route that to follow. I knew where I wanted to go, but it was a highly irregular path and my only plan was to ride more than 50. I also decided before i left… No average speed, no lap times, calorie counts or worrying about how many ounces of water I’d consumed… I was just going for a ride. I did track the ride with Endomondo, but the sound was off.
Now if you know your geography, and that I live in southeastern Michigan, you know there are no mountains to climb. So how does one climb when there are no mountains? How can one assault one’s legs on what amounts to just a bit more than rollers? One goes to where the hills are concentrated and as they come up, one climbs those hills three gears higher than one would normally climb them. Instead of slowing going up a hill, one picks up speed. I actually got the idea from the way I run. I attack the hills and let gravity pull me downhill to recover from the effort… This way, while everyone is suffering up the hills, I’m picking up the pace – and smiling. I figured why can’t I do that on my bike?
So off I went, to climb the hills that gave me fits in the last 20 miles of the Tour des Lacs – twice.
I hit every hill I could find on the way out to The Preserve golf community on Old-23 and I climbed every one of them three gears higher than I felt comfortable with. On some I’d hit the crest with a nice head of steam, on others I misjudged and was in too high a gear so I did what I could to muscle through.
Then there were the sweet descents. Often I was too gassed to really fly down the hills but I didn’t care. I had the satisfaction of the climbs that stretched a smile across my face as I descended.
I turned around when I started getting tired, stopping by the running club for a quick bite before heading home… I shut the tracking software down at 50 miles and took it easy for the last mile and some, happily wiped out.
In the end I climbed 1,300 feet… Not much unless you consider that we’re close to pancake flat where I live… Final total for the last 7 days: 249.5 miles – not too shabby, well I’m happy with it.
After getting home, showering and getting a bite to eat, we headed back down to hang out at the running club – for a dip in the lake. The cool nights have chilled the water but it sure felt good on my legs.
Oh the nutty sh!t I can come up with.
If there’s one crazy thing I’ve learned as a noob cyclist – without the help of the internet, it’s squeeze the water out of the bottle, don’t suck it out. If this makes you scratch your head, listen up because this tip is worth about 10 seconds every time I take a drink. Over 100 miles, that’s a lot of seconds.
The reasoning is simple. When you’re actually working on that bike, you’re breathing heavy. You have to stop breathing heavy to suck water out of your water bottle. Once you’re done you’ve gotta catch your breathing up so you can get oxygen to your now deprived muscles… It takes at least 20 seconds to recoup and during that time you’ll ride slower.
If you squeeze the bottle, forcing the water into your mouth you can continue to breathe while your mouth is filling – and squeezing the water out will fill your face 2-3 times faster than trying to suck. With practice, taking a good drink can be done in a second, maybe two at the most.
If you squeeze, the recovery time is minimal (if at all) so you don’t lose pace.
Don’t believe me? Think I’m crazy? Watch the cycling championships going on in Colorado right now.
The clip is a little harsh in the language – make sure the sound is down if kids are around. If you’re a nun, don’t press play. (P.S. My mom was a nun – or technically very close to it, so don’t give me any grief).
Yes, you read that right. President Obama stripped Lance of his Tour de France Titles. If you’re a Lance fan, and most anyone who rides a bike is, if you want to place blame, according to the way the politics work in certain circumstances, blame the president. Or look at it this way… If FEMA’s reaction to Katrina was Bush’s fault, guess what.
Truthfully, because I actually do have a character and morals that matter more than bullshitting people (unlike many left wing activist reporters), I’ll tell you straight up that I’m not exactly being straight factually, though what I wrote in the first paragraph would have been the lede in the New York Times and Washington Post had the president had an (R) after his name. Those institutions of pseudo-wisdom would have prettied it up, stripped much of the boldness from the statement, but would have said the same thing.
The thing that I don’t understand and (much like the aforementioned press) won’t bother to research, is how the USADA has the authority to strip Armstrong of anything… Especially a title he won in France! Thus my tongue-in-cheek laying of the blame on the White House lawn like a stinky pile of dog poo.
In fact, the move by the USADA stinks even more than the doo-doo. Actually, to hell with it. After this, I’m pushing my Congressman to open an investigation into the USADA. That’s right folks… If you love Lance – or hate the over-reach of one more pseudo-government organization pulling this crap, call or write your Congressperson and demand an investigation into the USADA. Technically, that’s how it’s done in America.
Of course, the really funny part is that most of the second place guys that the titles could go to retired with far darker clouds over their careers, than that of Armstrong, for doping.
That’s alright fellas, you can give ’em to me… I can average 20 mph on automobile congested streets and I’m squeaky clean – I haven’t even had a beer in 20 years, let alone any dope.