"It's never too late to start your life over."

You know how it is, you're just minding your business, doing whatever it is you are doing and all the sudden, something catches your attention, be it a car, or a woman, or an airplane at 30,000 feet and BANG, you aren't doing what you were doing before, you are distracted by said shiny thing. Yea, welcome to my life.
"I'm not stupid, I'm easily distracted."

Monday, August 27, 2007

It's Almost Easy to Forget Where you Are.

A nearly unprecedented thing happened this morning. I woke up 15 minutes before my alarm went off and actually got up. It was strange that I had woken up this morning, after all, it was only 4:45 and I hadn’t managed to fall asleep until after midnight. I used the opportunity to wolf down some Clif Shot Blocks and drink some water.

It was easy to get out for my ride this morning. All of my clothes were already laid out, my water bottles were filled and ready to go, I had already changed out the lenses on my sunglasses, and my lights were mounted, and fully charged. The only hitch that I had was getting my heart rate monitor tracking.

After warming up and stretching out I got on the road about 5:15. At that time the sunrise is still about an hour away and on this particular morning the nearly full moon had set several hours earlier. Those of you who have ridden a bike in the dark know who I was feeling. My entire world was reduced to what was visible inside the small cone of dim light coming from my handlebar.

I was alone save for the unseen but ever present bats swooping constantly above me and the occasional bus rumbling by me taking workers to dining facilities, construction yards, or guard posts.

I rolled on silently, listening to the sounds of the night interrupted only by the crunch of sand under my wheels and the swish of my shorts on the saddle.

That’s when it happened.

Within that fairly confined world that consisted simply of the sounds around me and the relatively small area encompassed by my light, I forgot where I was.

I was just happy to be outside, flying along under my own power. It was wonderful.

As you might imagine, this didn’t last long. In no time I was within a stones throw of the outer perimeter. The yellow-orange lights illuminating the concertina wire-topped wall. These blooming, necessary evils adding to the tiny sliver that had been my world just moments before.

The quiet crunch of my tires was eventually overwhelmed by the diesel roar of heavy trucks, the unmistakable clank and squeal of tracked infantry fighting vehicles, and the strangely beautiful and comforting banshee scream of an M1 Abrams tank engine at idle.

The illusion was shattered. I knew, I felt, and I could see, in stark relief where and when I was.

You know what though, it didn’t matter.

I was just happy to be outside, flying along under my own power. It was wonderful.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Base 1

So I'm going to start training tomorrow. I know that this begs the question, "Training for what?" Unfortunately I don't really know how to answer that.

There is a process to planning a racing season. I learned it from the book The Mountain Biker's Training Bible by Joe Friel. The first step is to do a self assessment and then clearly identify your goals for the season. Then you identify they key races that you want/need to do well in in order to achieve your goals for the season. You then set up your training plan so that you "Peak" for those key races. You then work backwards defining the other periods of the training plan. Those periods are Base, Build, Peak, and Transition.

Tomorrow I start the Base 1 period. For those of you familiar with this methodology, you probably recognize that it is probably too early to start Base 1. I agree. On the other hand, I am in such terrible riding shape that I am going to do the 4 weeks of Base 1 twice and the 4 weeks of Base 2 twice. That will give me plenty of time to build a good solid aerobic base before I get into the three Build phases right before I peak for my first "A Category" race the week of 24 March.

This of course begs the question, "Which race is that?" The answer to that is, of course, "I have no idea." Not to mention that much of the month of March I am going to be... Well, I have no idea what the month of march holds for me. The other problem is that most race series calendars have not yet been published. Heck, most of them are just finishing up, they have barely begun to think about the next races. I suspect that I will be racing in Arizona or Utah during that time. Most races in Colorado don't start until much later in the year. In fact, I am pretty sure that most people in Colorado are still skiing during that time.

So, Base 1. Tomorrow. Needless to say, I am a bit excited. Might as well get in as much training as I can before I end up back in Germany freezing my, uhh, toes off.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Two good rides

I had two good rides in the past two days. Sunday isn't a normal riding day for Keith and I but since one of us wimped out on Friday and the other wimped out on Saturday we both had fresh legs. We decided to take a long ride at a pretty high speed.

We started out at a pretty good clip, a few miles per hour faster than normal and just started to spin. It felt great to be out on the bike. We noticed that there was some wind but didn't think about it much. We got to the half-way point when we noticed something: there was a LOT of wind. It felt like a summo wrestler's hand on my chest.

The problem with wind is that when it is a tail wind, you go slightly faster, but when it is a head wind you go much slower. We traveled into the wind for the last hour of our ride sucking the whole way. It honestly felt like we were going up hill the whole time. Of course that didn't stop us from occasionally turning directly into the wind, going up a hill and speeding up. Not sure why that happened but it hurt, a lot.

We got back and I wobbled to my room. Good ride. I haven't downloaded the data yet but I expect that my heartrate was in the 85-90% the entire time.

This morning's ride was supposed to be a short 15 mile spin at a nice low heart rate to recover from yesterday. That didn't happen. Not sure why but next thing I know, Keith and I are huffing and puffing, up a hill, into a wind, at a higher speed than we had been a few seconds before.

The conversation a few seconds later went like this:

ME: "Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?"
KEITH: "Dunno, must be your fault."

We took Lance with us today too. He can outrun the hell out of both Keith and I but we definitely have him once we get on a bike. Lance made an epic effort towards the end of the ride. He closed a 600m gap on a rough section of road. We didn't slow down, he just closed up the gap. And then it looked like he grabbed two handfuls of brakes and stopped. "Yep, that was all I had. Couldn't stay with you once I got up to you." Still, an awesome effort. It scares me, if he keeps riding with us, he is going to start stomping us.

I must find more things for him to do...