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Monthly Archives: August 2015

1,000 Mile August!

I need a nap.  I had to take the tank again yesterday so I had to leave one of my water bottles at home to fit my tools – long story.  In any event, 51-1/4 miles in 2h:44m. Other than the roads being wet, it was a perfect morning for a bike ride.


So, originally I was going to take this afternoon off, you know, to “taper”, but I decided against that to keep my legs spun up… And because a ride this afternoon will mean a perfect 31 for 31 day month, averaging more than 50 km a day (33 miles) – 1,037 miles total, without missing a minute of work or shirking my any of my responsibilities.

Besides, it really was a taper week anyway:

You’ll see what I mean by that next Monday…  Chuckle.

Where’d Those Hills Come From?! Cycling Out of My Element Just 30 Miles from Home

Saturday morning, late August.

We started out at 7:30.  It had stopped raining at 4:30 am.  I know this because I was awake.  Unfortunately rain was still in the forecast but we had a three or four hour window so I chose to take my rain bike, a ’99 carbon Trek 5200.  I’ve got my Venge completely ready for my four-day 380 mile tour next week and I’m not about to ride it in conditions that would have me stripping the whole thing down to clean it up…

There is one thing I like about the Trek, even over the Venge at times.  It has a triple.  The Venge, even with its pro compact, just doesn’t have the climbing gears the Trek does.  On the other hand, the Venge, with all of my tools and two full water bottles, is lighter than the 5200 with nothing on it.  My buddy Mike calls our 5200’s (he has one as his rain bike too) “The Tanks”.  There’s a four pound difference between my Venge and 5200.


20.5 Pounds



16.6 Pounds of Awesome

Mike and Chuck, on the other hand, had their “A” bikes which meant I was going to work today… I tried to block the negative side of that thought out and concentrate on the positive aspect – I was going to get some work in today.  Avid cyclists know exactly what that last sentence is getting at.  If you don’t get it, keep coming back and pedal harder.  You will.

The asphalt was mostly dry and since the last time we took this route they’d repaved it.  It was some beautifully smooth sailing.  They even added a decent shoulder so we rarely had to deal directly with traffic.  Even so, our journey wasn’t without its entire asses (much more than just the stink-eye, they were the entire ass) who felt it necessary to lean on their horn for a quarter of a mile, then crowd us, giving us a whole foot as they passed.  Ah well, a day in the life.

On we rode, along the normal southeastern Michigan terrain, a little up hill here, a little downhill there… Not Ohio or Florida flat, but considering I’ve logged some good miles in Kentucky, North Carolina and northern Georgia, we’re pretty flat up here in Michigan.

Then we came to the GM Proving Grounds… Now there are some decent hills there. Nothing we can’t climb at 15 mph but they make you work, that’s for certain. However, we didn’t turn where we should have to start up the second hill… we kept on, heading south. Up a hill, down a hill, up again. We turned into Kensington Metropark. We stopped at the first place we could and I checked the radar. The rain was moving in on us but we had two hours or so before it hit us… Plenty of time – kind of.

Kensington has a Rollerblade / running path that I used to frequent until they slapped a ridiculous speed limit on it (10 mph, my best time for the 8 miles was 24m:30s, double the speed limit). Kensington is anything but flat. In fact there are two awesome climbs that had me in the baby ring. Not the granny gear but pretty close.

Remember I was on the tank, the rain bike? Yeah, I felt every extra pound on those climbs. I managed, I kept up, but it hurt and I had to work hard to do it.

We spent about a half-hour in the park before turning for home. I knew we’d have another decent, long climb when we went by the Proving Grounds again but I wasn’t prepared for the one we hit just before that… All of a sudden, there it was, a real monster.  Had to be a mile long and better than 10%.  Not quite granny gear worthy, but close. The next three miles were darn near all uphill and the tank was weighing on me.

Ten miles from home and the sky to the west started darkening. It was going to be close. Last year, riding with Chuck and Mike was tough. They were the hammers and I was along for the ride. This year I caught up a little bit. It’s more like three hammers now, so we each took long turns up front. The miles ticked off and the sky grew ugly.

Then we hit the home stretch and took it easy for the last mile. 58-1/2 miles, 18.4 mph with some major climbing. We packed up, hit the road and not three minutes later the sky opened up. Unbelievable.

970 miles on the month and we’re doing 50 this morning. Decent weather report, decent temp, and a bunch of friends. Another perfect weekend.

Almost Enough… Is there such a thing as too much Cycling?

As of 2014, my best month was 803 miles, August of 2013 and I was only over 800 miles in a month one time.  I may have broken that last year but I wasn’t tracking mileage so I can’t be certain.  This year I smashed the 800 mile mark in three of four in-season months:  879, 850 and I’m over 910 miles so far in August (sadly with rain in the forecast for today, I may not be able to break a thousand for the month now.  I’m not going to ride in the rain and risk a cold right before my big tour next week – I’ll have to see how things work out… We got our ride in! Finished 10 minutes before it rained! 970 miles, I’ll hit 1,020 tomorrow – PERFECT!).

My best cycling bud, Mike, moved just two miles from my house last year and I had a feeling that was going to bode well for my mileage this year.  I wasn’t mistaken.

Not only that, as if a gift from God, my wife and I started riding together on a regular basis.  We’re up to four or five days a week now.  There’s nothing better than getting fit and Sexy with your best friend, especially when that person also happens to be the woman you’re married to.  She’s really taken it to the next level as a cyclist and is the talk of the Tuesday night advanced group.

Finally, I decided that all of that stuff about taking days off was hype.  After all, if the pros can handle a three-week tour at speeds vastly greater than I’m willing to ride, why can’t I ride every day.  Not only have I not suffered “dead legs”, they feel better this year than they did the last two.  The trick has been embracing slower rides in lieu of days off – slower being about five or six miles per hour slower than my average when I’m giving it everything I’ve got.  I’m a 22 mph average guy, so we’re talking 16-17 mph for an average on the slow days.  The idea being that I knock off enough speed that “I’d be embarrassed to have my friends catch me riding that slow”.  These slower rides aren’t without purpose though, just to crank up mileage.  When you combine slower speeds and a normal cadence (80-90) on a bike ride, the end result is energizing the legs.

In any event, I read a post the other day that pointed to studies on how much is too much and I’m telling you right now, those who push for limiting how much cardiovascular activity one engages in are not going to like the results of that study.  In fact, the results showed “the more, the merrier”, at least to an extent:

“Risk continued to drop with ever-increasing activity levels: 37% lower at two to three times the minimum guidelines and 39% lower at three to five times. But at that point – the equivalent of 450 to 750 minutes of moderate weekly activity – the association plateaued. There was no additional mortality benefit for even more exercise, but neither were there any negative associations.

Folks, 750 minutes of moderate weekly activity is 12-1/2 hours, just shy of two hours a day.  Not only is that a lot, it’s fair to say that I am… (I’m trying to think of a politically flattering way to say this – in other words, say that I’m a bit of a cycling nut, but with positivity)…  Uh, I am…  enthusiastic about my penchant for cycling (yes! that’s it) and 750 minutes a week is actually quite close to my rarefied air, between 200 and 250 miles a week.  I’ll take 40% less likely to die and the plateau and my daily miles.  That’s like winning the lotto for a guy like me.

Now there’s no doubt that we have to be very careful with our passion for sport and one should always do their due diligence when it comes to their health and wellness.  When we’re talking about exceptional levels of exercise there are risks.  For cyclists, we have to watch bone density.  Going out for a run every now and again helps negate that.

That said, the studies examined in the linked post show that, at least until the next study comes out, it’s all good. Go for your ride, baby.  At least for now, you’re probably not going to get to “too much”, within reason of course.  Chuckle.


“I Don’t Have the Time for Fitness”, and Other Donut Shop Lies…

You’ve either heard it or said it.  “I don’t have time to go to the gym.”  “I don’t have time to work out.”

I’ve heard them all and said a few myself, including “I don’t have time to go to the gym.”  These are donut shop lies, the lies we tell others while we’re sitting on the stool in the donut shop.  I did, of course, have time to go to the gym.  I hate the frickin’ gym and there’s no way I’m wasting my money on a gym membership.  At least that’s honest.

I do, on the other hand, have time for fitness.  This is my cycling mileage for 2015:

2015 Mileage

That works out to about 5,300 miles.  Or, to break that down by calorie consumption, 300,000 (give or take).  That works out to about 85 pounds worth of calories.  My average speed over those miles was, on the low-end, 18.5 mph…  Divide 5,300 by 18.5, divide that by 34 weeks into the year…  8 hours a week.  On average.

8 hours a week, albeit 8 fast hours, and I can burn through 85 pounds in 8 months.

To be fair, I hardly put in any miles in January and February and my late spring and summer months are stacked, so that should be taken into account.  Still, my longest week on the bike only worked out to two hours a day on average.  Let’s look at this by day though, because this tells a great story too:

Mileage By Day

Mileage By Day II

I didn’t include this last week or so because I’m tapering a little bit for a big four-day tour next week…  Still, when you look at my mileage production by day, most days are an hour or less with some really long days mixed in there.  A couple of hours on Tuesdays, a few hours each on Saturday and Sunday.  On the other hand, and again to be fair, there’s no doubt I’m a little kooky about cycling so let’s dial it back for normal folks…  Call it an hour a day, six days a week…  Carry the one…  Okay, it works out to a pound and three-quarters a week.  You’re going to take the winter off (and watch what you eat over the winter, ahem)…  That’s three months, call it twelve weeks…  70 pounds in a year, an hour a day, six days a week.  If one were to ride a bike, call it an easy 15 mph pace (12 mph on a mountain bike) and if one were to limit one’s caloric intake to just what they need to sustain a sedentary lifestyle (that means you eat less and eat decent non-garbage food), you could technically drop from 300 pounds to 230 in a year.  You could go from 250 to 180.  Or, like me, you could go from 175 to 165 and not worry so much about what you eat (except for during those winter months).

The point is, I recommend freeing yourself from telling lies only you believe – those donut shop lies.  Anyone can get fit.  All it takes is a little willingness, a touch of honesty and a whole shit-ton of good times.  What, you were expecting “hard work” weren’t you?  Hell, if it was all hard work I’d be sitting on the couch with you.  I ride a bike because it’s fun and burgers are yummy.


Sometimes You Gotta Break the Rules, God Help Me, of Cycling…

I don’t ride with a saddlebag on my bike, haven’t for more than two years.  I wish I could lie and say it was the rules that made me get rid of it, but I can’t, kind of.  Saddlebags are quite acceptable in my neck of the woods, whether or not the guys at Velominati approve.

I got rid of my saddlebag because of Men in Black.  The movie.  Seriously.

I gave my saddlebag to my wife because my bike looked like a Ballchinian with a saddlebag on it.  It looks fine on her bike and truth be told, I’d still be using it if it looked that good on mine.

Last year I rode with all of my tools loose in my back pocket.  This year I have an awesome pack sold by Serfas that holds everything perfectly and fits excellently in my middle-back pocket.  No more sweaty money is an added bonus.

I don’t notice it there on a 50 mile ride. I do on a 100 but I can live with it.

With DALMAC coming up, and taking into account the fact that the four day 400 mile tour* is only SAG supported (no rest stops), I started thinking about what I want in my back pockets…  Food and maybe a rain jacket if rain is in the forecast and money… That’s about it really.  Do I want to carry my tools too?  Function is going to have to trump form for once…


I dug out my old mount and Specialized tool container…

I’ll give up a little in weight to a standard saddlebag, about a Quarter-Pounder’s worth in the mounting system, but I’ll take water proof when I’ve got my travel tools with me, any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Simple fact is, till I can afford a team car to look after mechanical issues, hundreds of miles from home, with no other option but quit for the day and call the chuck wagon or break a rule that wasn’t intended for the type of tour I’m going to take part in, well let’s just say I won’t lose any sleep over the infraction.

Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

*DALMAC is a 400 mile tour but the group I ride with cuts the last 20 on the last day off…  There’s a silly little 20 mile loop that they stick on to the end of the fourth day that starts and ends at the finish to make the mileage work out that we lop off.  In other words, after 80 glorious miles along the most beautiful 80 miles of road in our entire State, they throw on a silly loop to make it an even 400.  I didn’t know when I signed up for the ride, but my friends cut that loop off, and I won’t be bothering with it either.  380 miles in four days is tough enough.

Tuesday Night Club Ride: Theory of Relativity Edition

In March, a 62 degree, cloudy, and windy night brings out the shorts and short sleeves.  Arm and leg warmers?  Who needs ’em?!

In August, that’s cold and nasty.  Arm warmers, knee warmers, heck some guys were wearing jackets for God’s sake…  not that I blame them either, I was chilly.  I didn’t break a sweat on the warm-up and barely broke one when we rolled out.  It was cold.  After a month in the mid 80’s and low 90’s, 60 is cold.  After three months below freezing, 60 is glorious.  The theory of relativity, well not exactly but it made for a cool title.

I messed up last night too.  The first ten guys and two women rolled out and caught a lot of the group flatfooted.  There was a fair quarter-mile gap that had to be made up in a hurry and I led that pain train out, dead into a 10-15 mph headwind.  It sucked, right out of the gate.

We caught the lead group within a half-mile but I had to burn quite a bit to do it, that wind was brutal at speed.  I didn’t have much to worry about though.  We made a plan in the parking lot, all of my friends, to drop and ride with our buddy Brad when we got to the river, just 13 miles up the road.  Brad and I rode back from there but last night we talked him into the full 30 mile route and he relented once we promised to take it easy on him.  He’s going through precautionary chemo and it’s a well-known fact that those who are fit, and more importantly, do what they can to remain fit through their treatment, fair better through the planned poisoning.  Well, here we are, the last weeks of summer and we’ve all had a successful summer.  Chuck, Phill, Mike, me…  We’re all rockin’ great miles, we’re strong and fast, lean and mean…  Now it’s time to do what we can to help our brother into winter so he can get through the tougher parts of his treatment.

It took a lot out of me to catch the lead group and I was too close to the front once we did catch them.  I was only maybe five bikes back so not only would I have to fight the wind without much protection, the closer to the front I got the harder it was going to get.  As soon as we turned north at the 1-1/2 mile mark, I headed to the back so I could recover properly before I started taking turns up front.  As I always do, I chose the tough side of the pace line heading north so when we turned south I’d be protected from the crosswind.  It’s a tough choice, really.  Eat the wind when I’m fresh and enjoy protection the protection of the other side of the line later.  The problem is, some of the other guys switch sides once we turn left and I can find myself in difficulty, without protection from the side.  That wasn’t the case last night though, both lines held and it was maybe eight miles before I finally made it to the front for my first turn – another rarity, normally I’ve taken three turns by then.

The crosswind was absolutely brutal up there, cold and gnarly.  I spent as long as I could and as I dropped back, surveying the group, all of my friends were already off the back…  Bonus!  I quietly slipped off the back of the lead group and soft-pedaled to let everyone catch up.  Mike caught me first, then a new guy, Lenny who was followed by Phill, Matt and Brad.  It took us a minute to get the pace right into the wind.  Mike and I were sitting up on the hoods but Brad was stressing with our easy of 18.5 so he kept slipping off the back and Phill and Matt stayed with him.  This meant that Mike and I would often end up fifteen bike lengths ahead and have to slow up.  After the second or third time I slipped back and gauged Brad’s comfortable pace, then went up to let Mike know that 17.5 was the target.

See, the problem with taking it easy is that, well how to put this…  Under stress, the body reacts a certain way.  Certain functions kind of pause or stop while the body works on the task at hand…  By the time we reached the river, I had to go…  So I let the group go ahead and tended to business.  We were into the wind and we had hills coming up – both good for me.  See, most people hate hills and hate wind, so you can make up a lot of ground if you have the heart.  Unfortunately, having the heart isn’t easy.  I climbed my way back to the group within a couple of miles but it hurt getting back.  I probably overcooked myself a little bit.  That was the last difficulty I had, maybe sixteen miles in, until we were rolling into the finish.

With eight miles to go, my buddy Mike was trying to get Phill to box me in so he could shoot off the front (think Tour de France, same thing they were doing to Sagan when he tried to head-butt his way clear – I think he was fourth on that stage).  Mike must have had a guilty streak because he thought I heard them plotting but I didn’t – he coughed up his plan with a chuckle and we had a laugh over the fact that he would have had me dead to rights if he hadn’t spilled the beans…  No way I’d have seen that coming.  We turned east for eight straight miles of tailwind.  We decided on 22-23 mph and I commenced to taking a turn up front that amounted to half of the ride back.  When I arm-flicked Mike up front, I didn’t drop to the back, I took third bike behind Phill.  I knew Mike was going to take at least three miles up front and I had something brewing…

Sure enough, with a bit more than a mile to go, Mike gave up the lead to Phill.  I had just turned say to Brad, “Be ready because I’m going”.  He asked, “You’re going?” and I nodded.  Mike went back, past Brad and that’s what I wanted to see.  Phill started kicking up the pace, beyond 24 mph, up to 25.  There’s a farmhouse, on the left, that marks the Sprint point.  Launch before that house and it’s too far for a decent sprint.  After that house and it’s too late.  Phill arm-flicked me up just 20 feet before the house and I was already, upshifted a gear and in the drops, ready.  I didn’t hesitate.  Out of the saddle, in the drops, I launched forward, accelerating instantly.  I didn’t look at my computer until I was out of gas – 33 mph and I was at the finish line.  I raised my arm and looked back, nobody (including Mike) was able to match me.  They’d made it up to 29 but there acceleration was a lot slower than mine.  Mike later said that he couldn’t match my sprint because he couldn’t get around everybody, and that’s what I was hoping for.  Mike’s competitive streak is greater than mine, and he’d have absolutely matched me had he not dropped back so far.

Back at the parking lot, as we packed our bikes up (and heated up the cars, good God, that was a great October ride in August), we made our plans for the weekend.  It’s going to be another long ride on Saturday followed by a medium-long Sunday.  I might be able to hit 1,000 miles for the month of August…  It’ll be close.

The Easiest, Fastest, Most Overlooked Bike Maintenance Item: The Steering Assembly.

I won’t get into the How To of cleaning and lubing the steering assembly, I’m saving that for an upcoming series, but if you haven’t taken the steering assembly apart and cleaned it lately, think about getting it done.

Mine took ten minutes.

Disassembled, cleaned, lubed, and put back together.  Ten minutes.

I have the newer, since the early 2000’s, threadless stem system.  The older quill stem systems are a little more complex, but not all that bad either.  The threadless stem system is painfully simple though…  If you absolutely can’t wait for the post in the new series, I’ve written about this issue before, and the link has two videos embedded that explain both the threadless stem and the quill stem options for cleaning and lubing the steering assembly.

The problem, of course, is the putting it back together.  There’s a lot that rides on putting everything back together, not only in the correct order but getting everything properly tightened down.  Get it too loose and you could crash or completely screw up your bike.  Too tight and you can ruin the bearings.

The problem is that there isn’t a lot of wiggle room for the do-it-yourselfer – and no room on the loose side.  Even a little loose is exceptionally bad for the bike and is dangerous to ride the bike in such a state.

There is light at the end of the tunnel though, and it’s not a train…

If the bike is a rockin’, don’t bother knockin’.  On second thought…

The trick to making sure you have the tension right is rocking the bike back and forth with the front brake firmly engaged after everything is properly put back together and tightened down.  Pull the brake lever with your left hand and wrap your right hand around the place where the fork comes together with the steerer tube.  Another good place to feel the movement is the spacers just below the stem – I check for movement in both places before I’m satisfied because my bike fits together very well, the parts fit together tight, so it can be tough to detect movement.  Finally, if you want a third, even better way to make sure you’ve got the stem tight enough, with the bike on a rack, with your right hand on either of the locations described previously, strike the tire sharply from the front (just be careful not to knock the bike off of the stand…  If the stem is loose, you’ll feel it.

So, don’t neglect the steering assembly, you’ll be amazed at how much dirt gets in there…  It’s gnarly.  I’ve heard recommendations of twice a year for this item, but after the last time, I might bump mine up to three.

Getting the Orange Sweat Stains Out of White Cycling Kit… It’s Easier Than You Think.

I sweat orange.  I’ve read it has to do with well water and sunscreen.  I do have a well and with 12-14 hours a week in the sun, I go through some sunscreen, but I have a water softener too so I technically shouldn’t get the stains.  I do though, and it pisses me off.  So much that I quit buying white clothing long ago…  I hate feeling like a slob even though I’m not, so it’s just easier to go with blue, black, gray or some version of tan clothing and I can avoid the problem altogether.

Then came cycling.  All but two or three of my jerseys have white in them, but only two have white in the collar.  My club kit has a white collar and I knew I was in trouble the second I opened the first package (I have two club kits – both large bibs, but I have a Large jersey for late in the season and an Extra Large for cycling between Thanksgiving and June – chuckle).

So I did what any self-respecting husband would do…  I left solving the conundrum to my wife.

I know, I know, I can hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth already…  Look, my wife and I have a partnership.  She takes care of some stuff, I take care of other stuff.  What we have works and we are happy, so butt out.  That said, she solved my problem…

Three days ago, the collar on my mid-season jersey was orange:

Not orange any more.  You’d be right to say, “Hey man, that’s gleaming!”  It is, ’cause my wife rocks.

So before we get to the simple, painless even, solution, let’s look at the problem.  Every now and again my jerseys don’t make the proper laundry cycle.  My wife has other things to wash before my jersey can make it into the washer.  Now being a guy and living in a very wet region with a well, I’ll wash anything after a ride, just to keep it from sitting.  My wife, on the other hand, being a conscious hippie, will sometimes let a jersey sit for 10-20 hours until we accumulate a decent load to wash.  The problem is that wait.  That’s why my stuff turns orange.  If it makes it right into the wash, it won’t stain.

So, what’s the answer?  My favorite Tide sport.  With the collar dingy and orange, my wife told me to soak the collar in a small amount of straight laundry detergent…  I just poured a couple of table spoons into a plastic cap, balled up the collar, stuck it in the detergent, rubbed it in a little bit and let it sit for a few hours.  My wife ran a load, maybe three or four hours later and that’s how it came out right there.  Easy as it gets.


Why I Choose Cycling: Number 371

Saturday’s 70 miler was one of those perfect rides.  With an easygoing but solid 20 mph pace, and the company of most of my best friends, with two miles to go I was a little bummed we were done.

After taking my wife out to lunch, and after a much-needed nap, I went with my wife for another short ride.  Just ten miles, and exceptionally slow, but it hurt.  My wife wanted to get a ride in before our scheduled Sunday 50 with more of my friends and I wanted to keep her company.  I love cycling with my wife.  I slept well Saturday night but didn’t hold out much hope for having another perfect ride on Sunday.  Those are some slim odds after a decent seventy and a two-a-day on Saturday…

I woke up five minutes before my alarm.  I ate some cereal for breakfast and drank my prerequisite two cups of coffee.  Coffee does a cyclist good (maybe I should trademark that) [ED. A friend rightly pointed out  in the comments section that coffee/caffeine is a cardiophile’s friend – Runners love it too].  I shaved and readied myself, my Venge, and my wife’s Alias.  Fifty miles, one bottle of water, one of Hammer Perpetuem laced water.  One ERG choco-cherry energy bar and one Hammer Gel.  My wife asked for and got one Perpetuem and one Heed laced bottle.

We rolled out at 7:25 and waited at the corner for Mike, Adam and Diane on their tandem and Matt to appear at the crest of a tiny hill, about a half-mile east of us.  At 7:34 I saw the first helmet against the rising sun.  We clipped in and started, slowly, up the road.  They caught us in just under a mile and we had to give it a surprisingly fair kick to latch on to the back.  Well, my wife went to the back.  I knew my place was up front with the Tandem and Mike.  Phill joined us two miles later and we were off…

Fifty miles is a fair distance, you cover a lot of road and I ride with a lot of people who know the best local cycling roads like the back of their hand.  Good tarmac, light traffic and excellently scenic (at least for our part of the State).  We rolled steadily between 18 and 21 mph for 20 miles before stopping for a restroom break. I used the opportunity to fire down my ERG bar and once everybody was squared away we rolled out.

Diane and Adam had things to do so they headed for home early. Mike had been second bike and I was third the whole way so far but that was going to change. Matt doesn’t take turns up front anymore and we were protecting my wife, so that meant a lot of work for Mike, Phill and I.

Mike took the first turn, three miles and arm flicked me up front… We were into a fairly decent wind and I had to struggle to keep it at 19. I don’t know how long I pulled for but it was more than two miles and less than four before I flicked my wife to the front. I tried to head to the back but Matt and Phill opened a hole so I took third behind my wife and Mike. And we rolled.

Matt stayed in the back but Phill would come up now and again and Mike and I took the rest. We talked and rode and laughed. Coming into Byron we finally caught a tailwind and cranked the speed up to the low to mid twenties. With ten miles left I was getting antsy… not “I want to be done” or “I’m beat”, but antsy.

Mike was up front, I was second and Mrs. Bgddy was third. Matt and Phill were back. We were holding about 21 with a hefty crosswind… All of a sudden Phill comes around from the back taking the lead and bumping it up to 22.  I decided it was time to play so I signaled to my wife to come up and take my place to the right.  I watched her shadow move and took off.  The original plan was to simply take the front and ramp it up to 24 for a few minutes but nobody came with so I turned that into an attack off the front.  I stayed at 23 to 24 mph for a couple of miles before running into a hill.  I slowed down a bit to climb it and checked my six.  I had about a 200 yard gap and thought about sitting up and letting them catch me…  For a second anyway.  When I set back to pedaling, I easily took it back up to 23, so I decided to try to make the break last till the next intersection, about two miles up the road.  With Phill at the front I knew I had a chance, he knew I’d be back so I could watch over my wife.  If Mike took the lead, and I was pretty sure he wouldn’t sit for me attacking off the front, I knew he’d give it his best to run me down and worry about letting my wife catch up later.  I took a glance back, expecting my lead to have shrunk but I’d actually widened the gap, almost doubled it.  I put my head down and dropped the hammer – I didn’t bother looking back again.

They caught me with a quarter mile left, Mike and I sharing a chuckle before I tried to drop back…  After all of that, I think they were trying to punish me for the race pace – they wouldn’t let me back so I had to line up behind Mike and he didn’t let up much.  We turned north, five miles to go and with a delightful tailwind.  Mike pulled for a mile and I took two, at the end of which Matt and Phill broke off for home.  Jess took a mile then I took the next two.  My wife and I said our goodbyes to Mike and we turned for the driveway.  48 miles, on the nose, and another perfect morning to work on my tan lines.  In the end, I spent the entire 2-1/2 hours in the first three positions (of six).  I didn’t get, or need, any more of a break than that and that is a good thing.  I learned I’ve come a lot farther than I thought.  Two perfect days in a row.  I need to play the lotto.

The 371st reason that I choose cycling is that there are so many perfect days.

Total mileage for my week off on the bike:  220.
Last day off the bike:  July 11th
Total mileage since my last day off:  1,424

A New Way to Cycle for Fit Recovery…

With absolutely perfect weather on the horizon, Mrs. Bgddy and I are ready to take this show on the road, quite literally.  We bought a pop-up camper a month or two ago and we’re just about ready to launch. 

For certain, in a couple of weeks my wife will SAG for me at DALMAC.  This means that instead of having to pitch a tent, I’ll be cuddling up with my wife in a Queen-sized bed.  Not only that, our pop-up has a furnace…  Seriously, a furnace.  


I’ve never been much of a camper, put simply, I hate tents. Our new pop-up sets up just as fast, is dry through even torrential downpours (we’ve tested it), and did I mention it has a freaking furnace?!

We bought that bad boy quite used, dropped quite a bit of cash on it to spruce it up, but it’s finally good to go. No more tents during hunting season, during family camping trips, and not at DALMAC. Next year, for Mrs. Bgddy’s triathlon we’ve already made plans to camp with her friends… Too frickin’ cool.

Incidentally, one of the last things to do will be to build a bike rack that I can strap to the roof of the camper (I am fully aware of the precautions and have worked around all of them).

Next year will be a season for exploring and camping in luxury. Now all I have to do is figure our how to shoe horn a 60″ big screen in there.