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And So It Begins, Training for DALMAC Over Freedom Weekend

DALMAC, at the end of the season, is a grind. Three 100+ mile days followed by a 72 as we take it to the barn. Most days are above 19-mph for an average.

The first day is fairly easy – or, as easy as 100 miles can be at 5:10-ish hours in ride time. The second day is where you’re tested. The second day hurts. Uphill almost the whole hundred and maintaining that pace, a day after we rode a hundred, can be more than a little brutal. The third day, you’re feeling a little better as your body gets over the shock… right up till about mile 90 and The Wall. A quarter-mile at 18% after you’ve climbed 1 to 3% for two miles to get there. I walked my Venge the last eighth the first year but rode every year since (I changed my drivetrain specifically for that hill) because I climbed the first two miles way too fast.

The Fourth of July weekend is tailor made for DALMAC training. We’re staring at a three-day weekend and day one is in the books.

We rolled out to unseasonably cool and cloudy conditions but with barely a breeze as wind goes. I regretted not wearing arm-warmers for the first hour but it warmed up after.

We started out into what little wind there was but it felt like forever before we had the help of the breeze.

The pace was steady and enjoyable throughout and I was feeling quite spectacular.

It was heading home in the last ten miles of our 56-mile ride that I started contemplating, “Why is it we ride our bikes so far?” By this question I mean, we’re out there three hours yesterday… but I never had a dull moment and as we took it to the barn all I could think is “I wish we had another hour to go…”

I’ve got no good answer, my friends. I’ll pass 4,000 miles (6,437 km) for the year today, I’ll be more than 1,000 miles over my pace to hit my yearly goal of 6,000 miles (just wait till August and September, I should be over my goal by the end of September, easy). We ride more than most folks drive their cars… but look at that smile on the face of the old fella up front.

That says all you need to know about “why” right there. Thank you, Sir. May I have another?

PS. When I refer to the Fourth of July as “Freedom Day”, do not mistake that I was referring to our freedom from British Colonial rule. While the Declaration of Independence has much to do with that, I’m thinking bigger. The beginning of the United States of America is based on the Freedom of the People from government. Unlike most other countries the world over. Some have famously complained that this is out of date, that our Constitution is too hard on the government’s efforts to progress. I’d argue that our Constitution is doing exactly what it was designed to do in that regard.

Bicycle Quiz: Hannibal Style (2001)

Here’s a bike quiz question for you!

In the 2001 film Hannibal, starring Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore as Clarice Starling, what bicycle does Justice Dept. spokesman Paul Krendler (Ray Liotta) ride?

Make and Model…  The year too, if you’re feeling cocky.

Click on the right facing arrow below, and drag to the left facing arrow for the Answer.

>               Trek 5200 Postal Edition – 2000     <

The Return of Bike Quiz:  Your Travel Day, What Do You Do After a Twelve Hour Car Ride?

So, you’re a cycling enthusiast and you’re coming home with relatives.  Your wife has asked if she can keep the kids for another week, so you’re going to be flying solo… The car pulls out of the driveway at 4:30 am.  You spend the next 12h:07m:38s in the car…with only two pee breaks.  Seriously.

Fortunately, I knew what was coming so I stopped drinking fluids around six the night before.  Anywho, twelve long hours and I stretch my legs, pee for ten minutes, and haul my gear inside.

It’s 4:50pm now and you have a choice.  You’re physically tired from one awesome vacation but you’re a little worried you didn’t quite get enough miles in over the vacation and you know good and well, it’s easier to keep the train rollin’ than take a day off right before the big club ride tomorrow night…

Do you:

A) Say skip it, take the night off.  Maybe watch a movie or something.

B) Figure you worked more than hard enough to chance it tomorrow night, order a pizza, eat the whole thing based on your “active vacation”.

C) Take an easy 10 mile ride, looking at all of the wonderful scenery, just to keep the legs spun up…

or D)  Start out at an easy pace, only to find that your easy pace jumped from 19 to 22 mph because you hammered the mountains so hard, so you maintain that throughout the ride only dropping below 20 when you’re into the wind…  Then order that pizza but only eat half of it (man did that taste good!) and watch the homerun derby.  For you folks across the pond, that’d be “watch a soccer match”.  Err, European Football or something.  Chuckle.


Bike Quiz:  A Hypothetical Conundrum – To Rest or to Ride

So here’s the scenario, and it’s not really all that hypothetical because it happened to me just yesterday…

You’ve been slogging out the miles in the cold all month long.  In fact, for the first time ever you’ve only missed three days since the weather “technically” broke.  Now, “broke” is a highly subjective term.  In all honesty, it’s been cold and riding in temps below freezing is getting a little old.  You do it though because t’s working.  You feel spectacular, you’re fast and in better shape that you’ve ever been after the first month of the season.

So, you’re up on your normal rest day.  You’ve got a club ride tomorrow and you know you want to rest the guns for tomorrow’s festivities…  But, it’s 55 degrees and sunny out (albeit, crazy windy).  What do you do?!

A). I don’t care, I have a plan and I’m sticking to it!  Today is my day off and my butt is on the couch! Then you spend the rest of the evening staring out the window, lamenting what could have been…

B). Second place is first loser!  Buckle up and hammer it hard!  It’s sunny and 55!  No warmup, you’re out of the driveway and on the gas!  Woohoo!!! You pull a hammy on the first climb and limp home with one leg.

C). You decide to commune with nature and clean the yard, counting picking up sticks and raking the stones out of your grass and back into the shoulder as your “WOD”.  Let’s see now…  Carry the one, carry the three…  1,273 calories burned!  You sit down to a feast, don’t skip desert and can’t imagine how you gained five pounds the next time you check the scale.  [Ed. Tsk. Tsk.]

D).  A perfect opportunity for a recovery ride!  Still, it’s so nice out you decide on the race bike.  Who cares that the thing is so awesome it cannot be ridden at speeds below 20 mph unless you’re riding dead into a gale-force wind… You’ll ride it slow, this time.  Really…  See B.

E).  A perfect day for a recovery ride!  You even opt for the rain bike and keep it to a speed that you’d be embarrassed if your friends saw you riding that slow and have a spectacularly enjoyable ride, coming in at about 16-1/2 mph.  You feel like a hundred dollars.


Bike Quiz:  What is that Squeaky Sound, and Why is Backpedaling so Sluggish?!

This one just happened to me on Saturday…  Entirely out of the blue.  Friday’s ride it was fine, Saturday, squeaky.

You’re riding along and you notice a squeak when you pedal, forward or backward, and it’s driving you up a f@cking wall (or you don’t even notice it till someone asks you why your bike is so squeaky).  While riding, you think it’s coming from the back of the bike but you’re not entirely certain…

What do you do?

A) Panic, bikes aren’t supposed to squeak!  You take a shortcut back home, throw the bike in the car and immediately take it over to the shop.  On arriving, they inform you that they’ll have it figured out and fixed next week, sometime.

B) Clean and lube the chain.  When that doesn’t do it, you figure skip it, the universe has given you a squeaky bike so you’ll grow to love it’s squeakiness.  You also blame yourself for thinking a squeaky bike into being and forcing the universe’s hand.  (LOL)

C) Take your dirty steed to the power wash.  Obviously the dirt on the frame is making the bike squeak. You liberally blast the hell out of every nook and cranny of the bike and let it air dry, only to find that now everything on the bike squeaks so you refer to B.

D) Don’t panic.  Finish your ride strong, shower, eat, take a nap and bust out the lube and cleaning products after you’re refreshed.


Bike Quiz:  All of a Sudden the D@^^n Bike is Hard to Shift…  What Do You Do?!

You went out yesterday and rode through a hurricane.  Fortunately the wind was at your back so it was neat hitting 84 mph, soft pedaling.  Unfortunately, there was a spot of rain you had to drive through.

The next day you head out to recon the damage, running through a few chin-deep puddles.  Or you cycle in England, pretty much the same thing.  On your way home you hit a dry stretch and go to shift into the big dog (that’s the big chain ring, Noobs) only to hear a gnarly screech and your two shifting fingers break at the knuckle.

What do you do?

A.  Take the bike home, hit eBay and upgrade the shifters and dérailleurs.

B.  Decide that you really don’t need the big ring anyway and vow to become the fastest baby ring cyclist EVAH!

C.  Dude, bust out the lube!

D) Pull over and wave the bike above your head, waiting for the team car to promptly deliver you a fresh one.  (Thanks to the tempo cyclist for that one)


Bike Quiz:  You just got a new cassette and chain put in your bike.  While out on your first ride…

This is the first post in a new series I’ll be running on Fit Recovery called Bike Quiz.  I hope you either A), enjoy the post B) get a good laugh or C) learn something from one of my oft-made mistakes and get a laugh from my self-deprecating style of looking at life and, um, cycling.  That said, here’s the scenario:

You just had a new cassette and chain put on your bike.  The first time you take the bike out you notice a faint (minor) clicking when you pedal in the three smaller cogs on the cassette, but only when you pedal.  What do you do?

A)  Get off the bike mid-ride, slam it to the ground and walk home or call your significant other for a lift.

B) Sue the bike shop (or yourself, obviously, if you put the cassette and chain on) for poor workmanship, take to tweeter and the social media discouraging everyone on the interwebz from frequenting the establishment.

C) Take the 1m:24s required to index and dial in the rear derailleur after your ride (or during if you’re on a long one).