Sandra, over at A Promise To Dad, a fellow fittie and child of a father with Alzheimer’s, conferred on me the Versatile Blogger award. I am deeply grateful. I lucked out in meeting Sandra over the ether – in fact, she bumped into me… she read and commented on a post I wrote when I was struggling with my father’s losing battle with Alzheimer’s. I read many of her posts about her struggles with her dad’s disease and they really helped me through a tough time. I ran into problems when he started losing control of his speech and other normal functions – I even had to start prepping his food for him when we took him out to eat. It’s since gotten a lot worse and had I not read one simple line, one simple thought, I don’t know how I’d have gotten through this as well: He’ll never again be as good as he is right now. Understanding this allowed me to stay in the moment rather than confusing the past with the present or worse, the future. Every once in a while you hear (or read) something exactly at the right time that changes everything – that’s what Sandra did for me.
So thank you Sandra, it is much appreciated.
So, according to the rules, in addition to linking to Sandra’s post, I’m also supposed to list seven things about myself and “Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly (I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)”.
In no particular order:
iswimbikerunstrong: Very cool blogger.
Canadian Hiking Photography: Unbelievable Photographs and a wonderful blog.
Beech Creek Project: This guy is a brother from another mother that I’ve never met… He’s been on hiatus for a bit, but his posts and the photos that go with them are incredible.
The Power of Run: Kimberly is quite quirky and completely awesome. Her fitness transformation makes an incredible story.
Jesus Was A Road Runner: The blog name says it all.
All Seasons Cyclist: He isn’t kidding – he rides in weather that makes me think twice about running in – and I run in weather so cold that I have to worry about my eyes freezing shut (technically it’s the eyelashes that collect moisture from the eyes running from the cold – happened last year).
Springfield Cyclist: Every once in a while you bump into someone who you can tell is “good people”. Tracey is one of those guys.
Elisariva: Elisa’s posts are always thought-provoking and sweet enough to make honey bees stop and scratch their heads. She’s a training animal. Very inspiring blog. In fact, she deserves the Beautiful Blogger Award (that came with the Versatile Blogger Award) a lot more than I do.
Sip, Clip and Go: I can still remember the first post of Karen’s that I read… I was surfing the WordPress reader under the search “cycling”. What do I see but a bright red high heel with a mountain bike cleat attached to the bottom… She’s just started getting into cyclocross racing. Great blog.
Bike v Car: Hands down my favorite blogger – evah. The man is hilarious.
Velo Quips: Hands down my other favorite blogger – evah. If you want to learn about racing, this is (and isn’t) a good place to start – you’ll see..
Seven things about me:
1. I love winning blog awards, but I hate coming up with seven new things about me every time I win one.
2. I hate coming up with seven new things because while I have great self-esteem, my ego is quite in check and coming up with new things is sometimes tough. This may seem odd, or slightly hypocritical, considering item number one but it works in my melon.
3. I started reading “Finding Ultra” at the urging of a buddy of mine – and as sexy as vegetarians can make the lifestyle sound, I don’t care how good you think it can make you feel, there. ain’t. no. way. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why someone would choose a vegetarian lifestyle. I’ve always viewed vegetarianism as a “as long as you’re happy and don’t try to push it on me, we’re good” kind of thing.
4. As much of a big deal as I make about speed and average speeds in cycling, I really don’t care how fast I am – just as long as I’m going as fast as I can and I’m able to smile while I’m doing it.
5. I don’t race very much. First of all, I don’t have to pay someone to know I can ride a bike a butt-load of miles or run real fast… I can find that out for myself right outside my front door. Secondly, I do belong to a tight-knit group of friends, all of whom are fitness minded, so I have more fun running with them than running with a group of strangers… Racing just isn’t as much fun.
6. I swim like a fish – I’ve never worked out for a triathlon swim, I just show up day of and start swimming.
7. Recovery didn’t come easy for me – I first got a toe wet at 18 years-old after a party that got just a little out of control… Got a little too hammered and got so sick from it I burst a blood vessel in my throat. My clothes were completely caked in dried blood and I almost died Jimi Hendrix Style. It wasn’t until I was 22 that I really gave recovery a chance, and haven’t had a drop since.
100 miles to go – well, technically 98 but who’s counting. I started off the year with a goal of 4,000 all-purpose miles by December 31st. I blew by that in early September – and now I’ve got just under 100 miles to go to hit 5,000.
I’d put a guess at sometime next week. Earlier in the season I’d have that done before Sunday, but I haven’t put those kinds of efforts in for a couple of weeks now. I’m all about maintaining my fitness until next season, but I’m in my third week of a much-needed break (50 miles a week instead of 150-200) that I’ve been enjoying thoroughly. My diet has reflected this cutback as well – I’m not eating anywhere near the food I was at my peak… I was really quite nervous about the transition but it’s gone a lot better that anticipated.
I did have to set my break aside for a few days though – we just went through a two-day summer that absolutely required a couple of good rides. On Wednesday I remembered to bring my bike home but left my shoes at the office – so I was mountain bike-bound. I went out with the wife and kids for a couple and then followed that up with a nice 16 mph dirt road ride. Then, yesterday I went out for a nice 16 miles in 20-30 mile per hour winds. It was comical to say the least. My fourth mile time, on the way out, was 2:15 seconds. I hit 33 mph – on the flat. Of course, on the way back it was hard to maintain 13 mph – and the miles where I had a crosswind were laugh inducing because I had to lean into the wind so much… But at 80 degrees – in October, I couldn’t have possibly cared less. I had a smile on my face the whole time. The weather over the next several days is going to be much cooler (30-40 degrees) but I’ll probably go for a couple of rides in between a run and cutting the grass/leaves.
Who’d have thunk it – 5,000 miles in one year. That’s a pretty big deal for me. – about 10 times what used to be normal.
Here’s a search that led someone to my blog: “cycling 14 mph over 45 miles good”. Of course it’s good – dude, you just rode 45 miles!
For everyone out there on the internet, listen up, because I wondered the same thing when I started out – what’s fast, what’s not, so on and so forth. I Googled the same things. The truth is there are too many variables to put everything into nice little speed categories.
14 mph is slow for a road bike, but pretty decent for a mountain bike – especially over 45 miles. But that’s not the point. If you spent three hours on a bike, unless you’re dogging it, that’s still good! Who cares if it’s fast or not, you’re movin’ baby. I can, however, throw out some pretty common numbers:
For a road bike – less than 40-50 miles, no drafting, 16 mph is slow for relatively flat roads, but not so bad when you’ve got a lot of steep climbs (to borrow a phrase, Aaron). 18-19 mph is pretty quick (on the flats, but fast with a lot of hills) and 20-21 is pretty stinkin’ fast. If you’ve got a decent group add 3 miles per hour to each of those… Yes, drafting works that well, and yes, you can sling-shot too, but there are limits for us mere mortals.
For a mountain bike – less than 35 miles, on roads (dirt or paved) – NOT Trails, deduct 3 miles per hour, so 13 is slow, 15-16 is pretty decent and 17-18 is fast. If you’re on a trail, depending on the technical nature of the trail, 10 average miles per hour can be pretty fast – On a local trail I ride, I can manage 11 mph and I’ve been told by people far more knowledgable than I am that I’m in the top 80-85%, on the other hand, if it’s an easy trail, that’s slow… Trails are too subjective to put a good figure on them. Here’s the best way to figure out whether you’re fast, slow or somewhere in the middle on a trail… When you go out, if you’re passing a bunch of people when you hit a straight sections, congratulations! You’re fast. If you’re being passed by a bunch of people when you hit a straight, you’re slow. If you’re not being passed or passing people, than you’re about average… UNLESS, it’s a slow day on the trail, in which case I give up, you’ve got me.
Now, this is for the weekend warriors, for your charity century riders, for your fitness nuts. Pros and racers are a hell of a lot faster than that. Figure mid 20’s to 30 mph in a pack – as far as I know – and admittedly, I don’t know much, I’m not a pro or a racer. Put it this way, the Prolog at this year’s Tour de France was just shy of 4 miles (3.97678 to be exact) in length and it was being done in the low 7 minute range (7:13 -7:30 for the top ten, the top 175 finished under 8 minutes) – that’s less than two minutes a mile folks, 34-35 mph. That’s fast.
Here’s the best way to tell whether or not you’re fast on a road bike… If you’re feeling cocky and think you’re fast, I can offer you this: Walk into your local bike shop and ask what day, place and time the local advanced club ride meets. If you can keep up to the end, you’re fast. If you get dropped within the first 5 miles you’re not. If you hold on for a good 15-20 miles, you’re pretty damned good. That’s the best way to know where you stand because that takes all of the variables and throws them in the garbage can.
What I do know is this: If you’re working hard, breathing heavy and sweating over 45 miles, it really doesn’t matter how fast you’re going – you are getting fit… And at the end of the day, if you’ve got that and a smile on your face, does it really matter who thinks what is fast? I think not.