Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Summer is coming.

Today we may actually hit 90 or more here in the DC area.  It's clear summer is coming, we've been mid-80's all week.  Though after today we should have some more mild day's in the 70's.

Been killing it on the bike. 126 mile last week even with 2 days "sorta" off.  Well Monday last week was my first non-ride day in like 36 days.  Legs needed it for sure.  Wednesday was unplanned off day due to meetings running me for near 14 hours that day.  So I rode 2x on Thursday.  Snuck in an awesome 20 miler in the AM then did 14 or so at Wakefield on the TNR.

Saturday was an epic'ish MTB ride for me with Maureen.  We did 25 miles in 3 hours rolling time of the SRT and Schaeffer.  Though by the end in SF I was suffering/tiring a bit.

Sunday I slept in then did a 45 mile ride to National Harbor and back.  Felt awesome.  Almost did an extra 20 but wanted to get some other stuff done.

Did maintenance on the Roadie.  Need to pick up a new dust seal for driveside of the FSA cranks sometime.  Adjusted rear-D successfully to much more smooth shifting/running.  Cleaned and lubed the seat post to prevent more seat post horror stories.  Also did a heavy clean/lube on the chain/rings/etc.  Though soon it will be time to replace the chain again.  Nearing .75 wear.  As a big dude I think I'm just hard on chains in my given riding style and history of failed chains.  I've broken a LOT of chains.  Capping with a double break last summer in Accotink at the Nova Epic and a third break as I escaped.  Then a very gentle ride home.

The break/failed chain pin on Ichigo 2 weeks ago causing the derailleur to be ripped off the hanger was the near end of my tolerance.  Going to make a real effort to monitor stretch, use, and such.  Also reminded me of why I hate Shimano chains and need to add a chain tool to my road kit.

Busy as hell the next 3 weekends at least between events and rides.  But that's good.

Now if only I could motivate myself to run some.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

It's Over?

#30daysofbiking is over?  Damn where did April go?

For me due to not planning on doing this meta-event I started a tad early so right now before I've finished for the day with possibly 2 more total events it feels odd, to consider I might not ride my bike tomorrow.  My streak currently stands at

33 Days in a Row.
40+ Hours in 33 days.  (I had a few issues where i forgot to restart GPS)
450+ Miles
38 Rides.

My short days typically were pretty quick 5 mile rides around the hood.  Not too many long rides yet this year I think I topped out in the high 40's.  Gotta push on THAT soon.  In fact might go BAT SHIT crazy and try Skyline drive Sunday.  As I said....batshit...

But at first when I was early in the streak, riding another 21 days straight seemed almost crazy.  But it wasn't.  It was mostly fun.  Minus the flat tire in the rain.  And destroying the rear half of my new CX bike's drivetrain.  

My new goal for May #31daysofsomething ie - Get Out and do SOMETHING for 31 days.  Bike.  Run.  Hike.  Trail work.  Yard work.  Circuits on the Nottoway Park fitness course.

I can tell my bike fitness has improved, especially since say February.  I'm riding better, easier and a bit stronger.  Now I want to build towards centuries and serious back roads rides.  I admit I'm a bit curious about how skyline may feel.  And terrified.  We shall see.

Racing on Saturday at Crystal City Phoenix Derby.  2 sets.  Solo obstacle Course at 3Pm and Team 4x at 4:30.  Might go nuts and do some trail work in the AM.  Very light TW.

Coffee replacement program is working VERY well so far.  Down to 2 soda's in the last 7 days.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Whooooa. Whats a blog

What is this blog thing???  I do see where I've started a few drafts since November but none of them were completed and I certainly don't think they are worth the effort of trying to rebuild the mental place.

Regardless lets move forward with the now.

I'm on the 21st day of April right now and on day 24 of riding straight.  Tons of riding done.  And it's been good.  This morning was the first day I've had REAL soreness and I think my legs might been a bit locked last night.  But a bit of riding to coffee meetup at Cafe Amouri in Vienna and I was fine.

Iced Coffee rules.  I can see a semi-soda free future somewhere out there.  I've pretty much been a soda a day (or more) guy forever.  Never was much of a coffee fan growing up.  Only really started trying better coffee this last year or so at places like Wake N Bake and a few others on DC Coffee ride's with Mr.Pete.

CA has converted me.  Tried their Iced Coffee this morning. Damn good even though I added too much splenda.  1 Packet next time.  Or maybe real sugar.  A dash of skim milk.  Yah!  No headaches so far today from withdrawl.  Energy has been good.  Getting off soda for the "most" part would be a huge health hurdle for me.  I KNOW it's bad but damn.  I'm usually wanting something cold to drink.  Researching cold brew coffee and such.

Last week was my biggest ride week in a while 126 miles.  Which for me is HUGE.  This April will be my biggest month since last May when I hit near 400 miles.    Not sure I'm gonna quite hit that mark this month, but I'm gonna keep chasing.  Only 1 day of trainer riding in the 24 so far.  Maybe 1 day more I'll end up in hell this month.  Bike commuting is slowly picking up for me and by May I hope to be steady at 2 days a week at least.  Also working from home very occasionally.

Last week with a full bag in each direction I did my fastest commute since December 2013.

2014 in retrospect became a weird year between my injury and a semi-lack of motivation.

Doing Phoenix Derby on May 2nd.  Still haven't decided on Michaux Maximus the next day.  But with doing the Team 4x additionally I'm leaning towards not racing it sadly.  Honestly since it's also not on our team event list that reduces it further.

Riding wise I've really been mixing up MTB and Road with a bit of CX.  My mtb riding has improved as in general I feel faster and fitter and didn't die on the QC 2 weeks ago.   Would do a longer MTB ride this weekend but with rain on Saturday I'm thinking CX on Sunday or maybe another good long roadie. Might try and push a 60/70 if I go road.  Who knows.

Who knows.  Who Cares.  Get out and ride your bike.  Freedom.........

Friday, November 07, 2014

Lets get dirty...

Dirty Dirty Dirty was last nights ThNR theme.  We did the FFX West Loop as the rain on and off all day had made the regular WF trails un-rideable. 

A bit of a late start at just before 7PM put us back in the WF Lot at 8:52.  Also a few minor navigation issues.  Sigh.  I'm not an expert in Old Town Fairfax.  Quick stop at Auld Shebeen for an Irish Car Bomb for me and W.  KL opted for a refill of her water bottle.  Sigh.  :P

Then a harrowing ride up along 123 to 50 and back to the CCT.  Wet and muddy we were done. 

PLB's briefly before Kilroys.  And home.

I slept like crap from crazy dreams of robotic boogiemen and AI attacks by my phone.  I could maybe blame the drinks but I only really had whiskey and beer.  And  a tiny bit of coffee liquor in the ICB.  I think I just needed more water honestly. 

Woke up with TIRED legs and opted against riding in today.  I shall run instead I guess tonight.  Maybe try and do 3.5 or so. 

Getting a good long ride in this weekend is the big goal.

Next week's menu:  Snow on thursday?!?!?!?WTFBBQ?!?!?!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Back on the Route Again...

Wayyyyyy back in early August I had a small mis-hap while commuting to work.  I was crossing a road and made a too sharp turn while going too slow.   Fell over in a majestic swan dive to the left.  Impacting near perfectly on top of my left shoulder leaving me with a broken collarbone and shoulder blade.  


I spent 7 weeks off the bike in total nearly.  Some of the best summer riding weather I've ever seen in the DC area wasted.  Sure I walked a bit but not enough.  And running hurt also due to strain on the collarbone.  Finally back on the bike in late September in time for the annual MORE camping trip.

Big Bear was a blast and I wasn't even doing a lot of the hard stuff.  And I gimped myself by pulling my back while setting up camp on Friday.  Still a great time. 

October I threw down and started pushing to get back into shape.  As in September I had committed to joining Bikenetic's CX Team at the lowest level of only 3 races.  A good thing as I'm still not yet in shape, as of right now.

But today was a major step forward.  Due to other commitments, weather and other stuff I've been putting off/avoiding getting back on the Bianchi and commuting to work. 

Today I just did it.  Well after much agonizing and some worrying with a side of minor panic.  And it was fine.  Great weather.  Sure traffic was a bit more as I was running a tad late.  And zoom in a went.  No mishaps. No rude drivers.  Legs feeling a bit spun out from last nights ride but thats okay.  And a nice ride home to come. 

What was a shocking to me was the level of panic/fear I was having towards the ride.  I've done tons of mixed riding and road and mtb since getting back on the bike, yet my 7.5 mile commute had me way wound up.  I stopped, took a few breathes and re-assured myself everything would be fine.

Way more people out at 8:00 than my more typical 7-7:15 commutes.   Probably a dozen or more bikers.  Though maybe it's the weather.  We shall see on Friday when I commute again.  Maybe next week I'll get back to 3x commutes....hahahaha. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Deep Thoughts on my Mentor.

Pete Beers on his blog posted a great entry on his thoughts of his early mentor in cycle repair and asked everyone to post up a response.  Mine was my dad I have to say. 

My dad went to work for the airline a week before I was born in the summer of 74.  For years before that after being in Vietnam my dad had been a construction worker, but with his new family coming he wanted a better life for us and after getting his GED he finally got a job with a real future.

My dad dropped out of high school in the 50's at 15 to help support his family and due to having un-diagnosed learning disabilities, reading and comprehension were never easy for him at the time.  He worked with horses, cars and later construction before being drafted into Vietnam in the mid 60's.  He spent 3 years in the service and did 2 years in Nam.  Mainly driving tanks and bulldozers as party of  Engineering battalions or such.  Pops first day in country set the tone for his time.  The base they were at had a fire set by the VC that they were using to attack the compound. Pops jumps on a dozer and goes out and pushes out the fire using the blade as cover, while taking fire.  Earns a silver star eventually for doing something stupid and heroic. 

Came back from Nam and then spent time doing mechanical and construction jobs before meeting my mom then he went fully into construction as Northern VA was having it's 2nd big boom in the late 60's/early 70's.  Entire neighborhoods in NVA have roads he cut and neighborhoods where he dug basements for houses.  People I know live in some of the houses.  Weird. 

Eventual I came along and he went to work for the airline.  Worked there for 37.5 years till he retired about 2 years ago.  Nearly un-heard of in this day and age.  I've been with my company now for 8.5 years and that's also unusual in the tech industry, thats one of those things I got from my dad was the desire to stick it through.  I see myself sort of as a classic "company man".

My dad got the moving but and working for the airlines had us move a few times (85, 87, 88 and 91 - 88 was a town move, not a real change of location). (  It was good for me, got me out of where I grew up and really expanded my awareness of the country and how area's were VERY different.  I grew up on Furnace Mountain north of Leesburg, VA till we moved in 85.  From there we hit Phoenix, and Orlanda with a return to Northern VA in between.   We also looked at moving at other times at Raleigh-Durham area, San Diego, and a few other places.  Thats another thing I guess I got from my dad.  The desire to see other places.  Since then I've lived in Providence RI, Tallahassee FL, San Fran Area, and now I'm back in DC.  Future places I might live include Charlotte SC, Asheville, NC and maybe Portland in the PacNW. 

As a kid I watched my dad work on stuff all the time.  He built his own log splitters, wagons for around the house yard stuff, solar water heating setup (in the 80's), and tons of stuff around the house including a huge deck and my tree house of awesomeness.    I watched relentlessly.  Then I grew bold and started using tools myself.  At first I was quite limited.  I favored using a hammer to drive my dads tools into the ground behind the house.  BOY did he love that, especially when he hit them with the mower. 

That led to my first tool set for christmas when i was 6 or 7.  Painted fire engine red.  My own tools.   I played with bolts, screws, etc.  I was shown lefty loosey, righty tighty.  And off I went to his own misery.  My favorite target....the push lawn mower.  :)  It was at my working height when sitting on the garage floor.  Or out back where it was stored.  My first bike also came around that time.  Damn blue banana seated monstrosity.  I hated the seat.  It was scary and I never felt in control.  I did take the stupid flag off the back though.  It wasn't till a year or more later I found my first BMX in the trash that the biking bug caught for me.  With my dad we reabilitated that junker with new tubes, tires, and grease in the hubs and off I went.  First just riding up and down my driveway and front lawn, eventually after riding a mile around my house loop I was cleared to ride ot the general store a mile or so away at 8 and change.  Freedom.

Mechanical work continued, helping dad with log splitters, chainsaws, trucks and going to work and watching him work on ground equipment.  Tinkering on my bike (my first speedometer).  Making up fake weapons for my tree house out of spare parts/pipe/etc.    My dad was always a hard working guy, often cutting firewood in the fall to sell during the fall winter, working OT for extra money to help the family have the things he never had.  I always understood it took hard work to get ahead. 

I started getting payed to feed/manage a neighbors dogs at 7.  At 11 I got my first tax paying job as a paperboy and did that till I was 14 and change when I went to work as a buffet stocker on the weekend at Bob's Big Boy.  Then I was a dishwasher and eventually a buffet cook, and started training as a regular line cook by when I left at 17.  All my money in the teens went to my computer hobby.  Bikes fell by the wayside by 15 as only transportation.  By 17 when all my friends drove the dropped away completely for surfing and roller blading and computers. 

For my dad at least at home it's always been more about getting it done, than necessarily doing it "right" when we first started working on my camero in my late teens this became one of our bigger fighting points.  When we started on the 2nd camero which was a full restoration from parts (not 1 single part was assembled, the car was in basket case condition).  We began to really butt heads, he wanted to take short cuts where I wanted to make everything perfect.   Natural part of the teen versus parent world.  But it was eventually finished and a hell of a car to drive.  He drove it for several years before selling it at a tidy profit to get into his current toy.  A 78 Nova drag car.  Currently on it's 3rd engine evolution, now running in the low 8's easily.  It's a beast.  And he loves it even when he blows up the motor as he did a few weeks ago.  I always enjoy going out to the track to work and tinker and watch it race.  He doesn't drive it anymore, mostly.  My brother drove for a while but they were a bit more into it and butted heads way more. 

These days when I visit my folks, my dad and I putter around in the 2nd garage with the Nova for a bit in the mornings, typically working on projects till lunch then I hang out with my mom in the afternoons, usually going shopping and stuff.  I was always closer to my mom in many ways (Yah I consider myself a Momma's Boy, and my brother would agree), but my understanding of life and how to deal with stuff always came from my dad I think.  In the way to work through, work hard, and then play hard when free. 

Pete mentions that he stayed clean and grease free.   I think thats anathema.  You can't be clean in my family and have done real work.  I look at a bike and I can find grease on fingers or smudge on my face.  My hands and arms have scars from working on computer cases.  I have a scar on my right hand from when my best friend in 7th grade got mad that I let his rear wheel spin while holding up his bike, he threw a  crescent wrench at me!  It's probably the prefectionism of europe/italy versus the rough/tumble/git-r-done way of america I suppose.   :P   Till then I'll wear either tee-shirts I don't care about or dark color workshirts when working on stuff.  My dad still has a supply of old work shirts he uses from the airlines for when doing dirty work. 

These days most bike repairs I do on my own except for my hydro disc brakes and replacing spokes on wheels.  When i can get  a full set of wheel tools I will go back to doing that.  The hydro is just too small for me to work on :P. 

Friday, May 02, 2014

I could have...

I could have ridden my bike home from Kilroy's after the TNR faster than I drove home.  Hell I woulda been home in 45 mins.  E$@%#@ VDOT had 3 of 4 lanes leading up to the Nutley Ave exist closed.  It forced 7 lanes of merging, into 1.  2 Hours to go from the 495N offramp to get to Nutley almost.  ARGH didn't get home till 12:20.  SOfa King Tired today now. 

The TNR ride was solid, we did the ICBMF Ride (Irish Car Bombs Mid Fairfax) ride.  We made a solid pace out there in about 45 mins, then once we hit the CCT we cranked HARD on the return ride back to Wakefield.  7 people made it a good group size. 

Irish Car Bombs are wayyyyy to easy to drink.  it's like adult yoo-hoo. 

No MTB Camp alas this year, stuck in training.