Thursday, February 26, 2009

Country roads take me home!

Today was another perfect day for a ride, clear roads, little wind and favorable tempatures. After I got done with work I hopped on my bike and decided to take a ride out around some new lakes. I had mapped out a route on that looked easy enough that I could find my way without getting lost. So I headed out around four and relished in the high 40 degree weather. 

I turned left of my street and head down route 18 towards brimfield, and make another left on route 43. Both of these roads are pretty busy and also have high speed limits with little to no median, which is made worse by winter and snow plows. After you pass 76 you make a right, the road actually crosses the exit ramp, and then you get onto the country roads. This is where the fun begins, little traffic and generally flat and fast roads. As long as you keep you eyes out for potholes, you'll be fine. I started down Edson rd, looking for my next turn. Well, I couldn't find the next turn and somehow ended back at route 43, don't know how this happened. I turned back around and took the next left and ended up at Kent State. Again, not where I wanted to be. So I decided to retrace my steps and just head east. From here on I'm not really sure where I went. I know I saw Lake Hodgson and Sandy Lake, I know Summit Rd took me back to Route 43 and Sunnybrook Rd. That's all I know about this trip since these roads don't have street signs. 

It was a fun ride, I didn't have to worry about not getting home because I had a ride avaliable, so it was fun to just get out and ride. Let the roads take me where they wanted to go, I knew I would eventually get home but it didn't matter when and how long it took. It was a truly gratifying feeling. The roads decided to drop me off a little over an hour after I started and I finished with a gratifying 30 mph sprint past my house. Up 5 mph from my personal best from last year and I already have half the numbers of rides as last year. This year is going to be great.

avg mph- 16.2
time- 1:15:07
Avg Cadence- 81 rpm
elevation gain- 413 feet

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Good Vs. Evil AKA Fixed Mania

Today was another ride with my good friend Johnny P. I was on call tonight for work so I asked that we take an easy route. John came up with a nice rolling to flat route around the outskirts of Kent that may soon become a favorite ride of mine. SO brought out my white stead and met John with his black stead, and both of us headed out on a fixed gear bikes.  It took us past the beautiful Brady Lake and Lake Rockwell. It followed gently rolling roads that were free of traffic. It was a generally low key ride free of any major malfunctions or problems, well except John's snow covered cleats. On the upside my rides are improving each time I go out. Here's the important info
Length- 29.27 miles
Avg Speed-15.9 mph
Time-around 1:40
Elevation Change-531 feet 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Training at Ray's

Sunday is my one guaranteed day off a week, so it's become my tradition to make it up to Ray's mountain bike park. I was feeling spry so I decided to take up the Gary Fisher Piranha, and my Gary Fisher Advanced ss/full rigid. The plan was to do a new training regiment that my teammate Rusty tipped me off on. Last Monday, I had the night off so I went up, and he recognized me (don't worry my fame won't change me;) and introduced himself. He was doing a form of descending intervals on the cross country course at Rays. We did six laps, took a break, then did five, then break, then four etc... I thought this was a nice way to get a workout in without mindlessly doing laps, when the lap is less than a quarter mile, laps get boring quick.

So I went up Sunday with the hopes of doing ascending intervals1,2,3,4,5,6. Then head over to the sport and expert section and practice some skills. I really enjoyed the ascending intervals, it warmed up my legs nicely so that when I hit the five and six lap circuits I could really hammer hard. It was also nice because it gave me a chance to practice as it was pretty packed, if you've done the loop at Ray's you know that there is at most two places to pass without the other person pulling off. There are wider spaces but they tend to come at places where it's hard to get by. The two best places I found were switchbacks on the CAMBA climb, stay on their wheel and when they go wide for the switchback you cut to the inside and pass. The second is along the back side after the whoops, build up steam and cut to the inside ramp and pass.

The one thing I wouldn't mind trying would be a fibonacci interval (1,1,2,3,5,8). If you got that joke you are a nerd! Did some runs on the technical lines, until I couldn't ride anymore. Overall, a fun ride. Tomorrow, I ride with Johny P, so be expecting another ride report. Finally, also be looking for my book at the end of summer titled "Tuesday with Johnny", and uplifting tale of a two cyclist who share memories and make themselves stronger because of it. I'm in a spry mood so I'm off to rest up for tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My First Half Century

Before today my total mileage for this year was a measly 100 miles, due to work and inclement weather. I tried to ride but it's hard when half the routes I normally took were impassible by snow. Luckily, today turned into a great day to ride. A local rider had seen my blog on my Valley hill climb loop and e-mailed me asking if he could tag along one time. It just so happened that we both had today off from work. So we decided to meet at my place and do a nice ride out to the valley.

Johnny P showed up to my house around 1 pm with his Surly fixed gear, and I pulled out my Scattante Team XRL. We promptly left and made out way down East Ave in Tallmadge and turned right onto Munroe Road. This took all the way to route 91 and the bike and hike trail in the Falls. After my legs warmed up, I gotta admit I was feeling pretty good, I was pushing a high cadence and generally was riding well. My corning was fast and smooth.

We followed the Bike and Hike up until we reached Truxell road and descended into the valley. Here on the gently flowing we grabbed some food and beverage in preparation for the hard work that was about to come. When we reached the Boston Mills climb Johnny P jumped out in front of me and rocketed up the hill. I was surprised at this, he was on a fixed gear for christ's sake! He's a strong rider for sure! While he rocketed up the hill, I was bonking hard core. My legs hit their lactic threshold and were burning like no other. I looked down and I was rolling at the blistering pace of 4-6mph. I couldn't muster any more strength and it took everything I had to make it up the 3 mile climb. I made it though and after the descent back down the valley we went back up Truxell road and this is where I was pushed past my limit, but I know when I got to the top I would be done with the worst part.

Our return took us through Stow and Kent and finally through Brimfield and back to my place. I gotta say it was a great ride, albeit a killer one for me. It's a ride I'll be riding again. And finally I want to thank Johnny P for the company. Pictures of me should go up on his blog.
Trip Data:
Time: 3:24:37
Avg speed: 14.8
Avg Cadence: 75 rpm
Calories Burned: 2100
Elevation Change- 1,400 feet

Sunday, February 15, 2009

2009 Piranha Race build

So, since being accepted to the CAMBA racing team, I've been slowly building up my 2008 Gary Fisher Piranha to race specs. So here's the specs.

Frame: 2007 Gary Fisher Piranha 16.5"
Weight- 24 pounds
Fork-Reba Race
Wheels- Mavic Crossrides
Crank- Deore LX 44-22t (2x9)
FD- Alivio
RD- Deore
Cassette- 12-34t sram
Brakes- Tektro Levers/ Avid bb5's
Shifters- Deore
Handlebars- Bontrager Race flat
Stem- Bontrager Race 90mm
Seatpost- Bontrager Select
Seat- Bontrager Inform R
Pedals- Eggbeater c's
Computer- Trek Incite 8i (soon to be Garmin 305)
Tires-Will be Kenda Karmas or Nevagals have yet to decide.

I haven't ridden with the new fork, that comes tomorrow after work, but overall I like this bike. I hope you like the build.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Map of Hill Climb Route

Here's a map of my hill climb route from my last post. Make sure to check out the elevation change.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Fighting headwinds in the Valley

Many of you who have ridden with me know that I absolutely love a good climb. Sure, I'm sure a lot of you think I'm crazy, why would anyone love the part of cycling the is the hardest and brings the most pain. Most people dread the uphill and would rather cruise along at a good clip along a flat stretch. Others, prefer the rush of descending, navigating switchbacks at high speeds on a razors edge. I can hold my own in these situations, but I excel is when the terrain turns upwards.

So today with temperature very near 50 degrees and the snow melted off the roads, I decided to return to my old stomping grounds of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I love the National Park because not only does it offer great roads to ride, it also has some beautiful scenery. What I love most about the Valley is the ample selection of steep grades. So I decided to take my "rain" bike out and get some miles in. I knew it would also be a test of my recovery after coming down with a nasty case of the stomach flu.

My route started by descending Truxell road, a gentle downhill where you can keep speeds between 25 to 30 mph almost the entire road. Once at the bottom a right turn on Peninsula road and a small warm up climb drops you back into the sleepy town of Peninsula. A left turn on route 303 and a right on Riverview road brings you up to the first major climb of the day, what I like to call Boston Mills climb west. Today the road was pretty rough because of last summers construction. Boston Mills west starts off unassuming until the last quarter mile where the grade steepens to the point where even in your easiest gears you are at your limit going up the hill at a snails pace. Once at the top I turned around gingerly descended the wet and rough road and crossed Riverview road and head over to my favorite climb, Boston Mills east. 

Boston Mills east will always hold a special place in my heart, it's my Alpe De Huez, three miles of pure agony. I have yet to have the qualities of this climb in northeast Ohio. It's not the steepness, length or curves, I can find hills that fit these bills, there's just something about this particular hill. The first mile is a steady grade, more difficult than most climbs but easily done in an easy gear. Near the mile mark it flattens out and crosses the interstate, now this is where the fun begins. A steep curving descent gives you slight hope that things may get better, but if you look across you see that it doesn't get better. Across that valley, immediately after you get to the bottom you have to go right back up the steepest part of the hill. There's no sitting and spinning up this hill, even in your easiest gear you have to stand and work up this hill. Once up the hill, you've done about two miles of the grade, the last mile is a false flat. You'll want to switch gears and start moving again, but you still are going uphill. After this you are finally done. 

Two right turns and you back on the flat route 303 which descends back in Penisula, and once you back in town a left turn and you can follow your path back out Truxell road. A less daunting climb out of the valley and you're back to where you started. An hour and a half and 20 miles under the belt. Not my best time but for the conditions a great ride. I got my climbing fix in!

Sorry no photos, I left my camera in the car but trust me I'll be doing this ride again soon.