10.30.2010

Duh, how did I forget this?!

In my previous post detailing many things awesome, I completely failed to discuss my recent acquisition of a FatCyclist.com "Fatty" jersey (which is actually short-sleeved...the blue sleeves are a baselayer top, since it's too cold nowadays for riding sans-longsleeves).  Twin Six offers these jerseys yearly during a limited time pre-order and then in small quantities on their site until they are gone.  Each year the design is slightly different.  Last year the hubby ordered the men's jersey, which was white with orange and black.  Proceeds from the sale of the Fatty/Twin Six gear go towards breast cancer research.  Elden, aka "Fatty," lost his first wife and mother of his children after a 5 year battle with breast cancer.  It's only fitting that these jerseys should be available in October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The jersey, itself, is already my favorite piece of cycling apparel.  It fits me better than any other top in my relatively small cycling wardrobe.  This will definitely not be my last Twin Six jersey.  I think I will have to get my hands on a sleeveless one before next Summer.

Take note of the photo at right.  Further evidence of my need for curvy jeans, heh.

In other positive news, our friend "Broken Bob" who was blown off of a roof during the recent wind storms is already making great progress in his recovery and physical therapy.  He has been sitting up and walking.  Amazing for a guy who broke nearly one of every bone from his pelvis, up.

In even more happy news, my cold is quite a bit better and I had an utterly fabulous 5 mile run, yesterday.  The crisp air cleared my head and I felt pretty much completely well (until I returned indoors and had my head re-congest within about 5 minutes).  I think my legs and left ankle even appreciated a couple of days of rest from aerobic activities.  I am also currently a mere 11 miles from hitting 100 running miles for the month for the first time since I messed up said ankle.  So that is the plan on this lovely Fall day.

Tomorrow we will celebrate Halloween by attending a cyclocross race an hour away.  We're pretty geeked about watching the "Tandem Throw-Down."  I doubt we would ever race our own tandem in a 'cross event (riding a tandem on the road takes special skills for each rider...cyclocross takes special skill...the combo = extra brutal and scary), but I've learned to never say never.

10.28.2010

Awesomesauce!

Some random cool things from this week...because Thursdays are not inherently awesome, but maybe should be.

Earlier this week one of our JDRF buddies posted some video from the recent ride in Death Valley.  Note the guy in the white Moeben sleeves.  He is especially awesome:


More awesome...my new Levi's "Bold Curve" jeans arrived.  They look better on the model than they do on me (duh, that's why I'm not a model), but they fit really well and are flattering.  Levi's have been about the only brand I've found that fit my butt and thighs well without leaving a large enough gap in the rear to hold a small child.  Previously I have worn their 529 "Curvy" jeans, but I fall between sizes in those, so I have to size up and wear a belt.  Plus they are maybe an inch too high-rise for comfort.  They look borderline "mom jeans."  Their new Curve ID line has a better progression of sizes, plus 3 lengths in each size.  They are more expensive, but since I'm not having to have too-long jeans altered it's still worth the extra dough.

Now I just need to watch for another sale (I scored my new pair for 30% off) and hope that the same jeans in a dressier black might be available in my size.  It appears that this entire product line is really selling like hotcakes.  Of course, the fact that I really like them is reason enough that they will almost certainly be discontinued.  It's Murphy's Law, or something...

Finally the godawful wind storms have ended.  That constant drone outside had really started to wear on my nerves.  Wind storms have freaked me out ever since the bad derecho storms from May '98.  We have too many large, brittle trees too close to our house and every gust would set me on edge as I waited for disaster to strike our house.

This photo was taken about 45 minutes North of here.  Between that spot and us a weather station measured at least one 71mph gust.  The entire Midwest is riddled with damage from 48+ hours of strong winds.  Lake MI waves were in the 10-20 foot range at various buoys.  I believe Lake Superior measured even larger waves.  We're very close to the anniversary of the Edmund Fitzgerald sinking under similar conditions.  Scary stuff.

In less awesome news, a good friend of ours was blown off of his greenhouse roof as he was attempting storm-related repairs.  He is currently in the hospital undergoing surgical repairs.  His growing list of injuries include (from his "BrokenBob" CarePage):
• Laceration on the back of his head
• Small brain bleed which is just being observed at this time. It is probably due to the fracture behind his ear.
• Small fracture behind the right ear on skull
• C1 & C2 vertebrae are fractured but stable with a brace. These will not affect his spinal cord!
• Shoulder blade (Scapula)on left side
• Collarbone (Clavicle) on right side fractured
• Upper right side arm (Humerus) broken along with a shattered elbow which are being fixed in surgery at this time.
• many broken ribs
• lungs are bruised (pulmonary contusion). He can take deep breaths and is breathing well thankfully despite the broken ribs and bruised lungs.
• Kidneys bruised
• Pelvis has a small separation at a joint (that is normally fused during early growth). This is being pinned in surgery to help it fuse again.

Please keep our friend in your thoughts and prayers.  He's strong and has a good support network, but he is also type 1 diabetic, so his body is likely extra stressed.

Paling next to Bob's struggles, I have a cold.  I blame this entirely on DH.  He came down with a cold just days after returning from Death Valley/Vegas.  Now I am sick.  This is a relatively mild cold, but I still have lost my mojo and am doing absolutely nothing more strenuous than perusing the Internet, today.  Hopefully tomorrow will find me up for a 5 miler, then an 11 on Sat.  I am thisclose to logging my first 100 mile month since prior to my ankle sprain...so May was the last time I hit this milestone.  I'm still trying to catch up with the 1000 miles for the year "Pace Bunny."

10.23.2010

It's a woman's prerogative, you know...

I'd been lusting after a cyclocross bike as my next 2-wheeled ride...and I really do think that eventually it would be a very practical and well-used bike to add to our stable.  But the earliest I would NEED a 'cross bike would be in a year from now.  And even then there is no guarantee that I will take part in any cyclocross races.  If we're in Death Valley for the 2011 JDRF ride next Oct., then it's doubtful that I would risk banging myself up in any 'cross events.  And, to be honest, lately I have wondered if my left ankle will ever be right, again.  I'm really coming to the realization that I may have done some serious, permanent damage to that joint.  I did everything wrong in the first crucial 48 hours after the initial injury.  At this point I question whether I will be able to run trails.  The same sorts of risks to my ankle running off-road would exist during the off-bike sections of a cyclocross race.

But I do have several Duathlons and thousands of road miles in the plans for 2011.  All that would would be a bit more pleasant on a road machine that dampens vibrations a bit more than my existing aluminum frame.  A frame with more aggressive geometry would be an improvement, as well.

And most of my bike time would still be on roads, anyhow...lots of chip-sealed roads (at least 3/4 of our roads are chip-sealed in these parts). Not so nice with my aluminum frame. I've been getting in some miles with DH on our steel tandem and the difference in the level of vibration transmitted from these frames is like night-and-day. My hands, feet, and ass are a lot happier on the back of the tandem, even on roads that make me really miserable on my Synapse.

I do like Cannondale and they and our LBS offer a 20% discount to JDRF fundraising riders, so I'm really eyeballing this bike at right (SuperSix 4 Rival). The SRAM shifters will adjust to my smaller hands and the carbon frame should dampen road vibration a good deal better than my aluminum frame.

My current ride (Cannondale Synapse 5 Féminine) is an entry-level "comfort" geometry bike.  It didn't take long before I found that I wasn't comfortable with the sort of upright posture of this sort of bike.  We've flipped my stem and swapped 2 spacers up (lowering the handlebars) to get my torso into a more "aero" stance, but I still feel like I need to stretch a bit more, especially in the drops. I don't really have the ideal body proportions for a women's specific frame--I have the relatively shorter legs and longer torso like a guy, so fit-wise I would have likely done better on a unisex frame, but the Synapse Féminine has short-reach shifters, which I need for my smallish hands.  It was a great starter bike for me to become more comfortable and confident on the road. Perhaps a more aggressive frame would have put me off early on, since the handling is much less forgiving.  Not having ever ridden a road bike I had no goals other than to use the bike for cross-training and happy cruises around with my hubby.  But once I got comfortable riding on the road I discovered that I really kind of like going fast and am relatively more "gifted" as a cyclist than I am as a runner.

And now I have race goals...I would eventually like an age group award in a duathlon.  Last year I placed 5/9 in my AG in my first duathlon.  My first ever ride in the rain...POURING rain.  And high wind.  This year I at least want that #4 spot.

Everything about that bike above looks perfect for my needs...the 48cm would fit me similarly to my current 48cm bike...in many ways it would almost certainly fit me better, since it's a men's/unisex frame with a slightly longer top tube and more aggressive ride position.  I shouldn't feel so cramped in the drops and should be able to make the best use of my beasty, powerful legs on a stiffer, lighter-weight frame, too.  Cornering should be a good deal more precise, as well.  Right now I feet less control than I would like.  It sort of reminds me a bit of a car with tight steering and suspension, vs. a car with looser steering and more body-roll...like the handling difference between my previous car compared to my current, sportier one.

The components are also a step above my current bike, with full SRAM Rival and a compact double, instead of my current mix of Shimano 105 triple and some lower-end bits.  After 3300+ miles in less than a year it's pretty clear that this is an activity I'm in for the long haul, so I've progressed beyond "entry-level" equipment pretty quickly.  Hubby admitted that I'm logging more miles than he did when he started seriously riding a road bike--and that is on top of an expected 1k miles on-foot for 2010, as well.

The color is bonus (the SuperSix 4 Rival comes in a very subtle matte black and that white and orange.  I am so not subtle and can't ever see myself on such an elegant-looking ride *snerk*).  I already have plans to essentially flip-flop the color scheme from my current "Oby/Oberon" bike.  Hubby was down at our local bike shop a couple of nights ago picking up the roof rack for our tandem and happened to mention to our shop guy, Mike, that I'm already lusting after the SuperSix.  Mike was apparently not the least bit surprised and exclaimed that we must name it "Oby Two Kenobi!"  I completely agree!

So it's quite clear that I must outfit the bike with "Sid Blue" trimmings.  I discovered both bar tape and cable housings in that color, which nearly identically matches that turquoise blue of Oby.  They will be like siblings!  Oby is the relaxed, practical older sibling and Oby 2 would be the wild, delinquent younger child.  And I still have a remaining Oberon beer sticker from my friend, Heather.  That will look perfect on the bottom of the down tube.

It's too bad I can't actually keep both bikes, but there would be no reason to have TWO road bikes (I'm not my hubby, fer pity's sake, heh!).  We're already running out of room in the garage with 2 road bikes, a tandem, DH's good mtn. bike, our POS mtn. bikes, DH's cross bike, his backup road bike, his cracked old road frame, and DS's bike.  I think there may be more, too...seems like every time I go out there I find another bike that I'd forgotten we have.  Does this mean we have a problem?

10.12.2010

Last week's TGIF - Tandem Goodness It's Friday!

Late last week we got the call that our tandem bike had arrived at the shop and only required assembly and handlebar tape application. Friday the shop called to tell us that they had it ready. So I drove down to DH's work to trade cars, as his midsize sedan is not nearly as useful for hauling large objects as my smaller hatchback (we have a roof rack with a tandem rail on order for my car for future transportation of our new ride).

With Derek's car I picked-up our son and the little boy in our carpool from school, telling Dane only that daddy needed my car to go get something that wouldn't fit in his car.

When Derek returned home he parked over by our detached garage and snuck the bike into the garage for final assembly and presentation.

Once the bike was ready we brought Dane out with covered eyes for the official "unveiling" of the bike that was purchased primarily for his benefit.

Apparently our whole ruse was very successful.  As you can see his eyes bugged-out and there was an audible gasp.

On Saturday AM Dane attended an annual pumpkin roll with friends.  While he was away Derek and I enjoyed an inaugural ride on "Rule #2: Double-Tap" (silly reference from Zombieland).  Wow, that was both exhilarating and scary as hell.  I'm sure it's a lot less scary for the "captain," but riding as "stoker" behind a wall of person is pretty terrifying.  Not seeing anything in front of oneself while bombing down a hill at 35mph will raise anyone's heart-rate.  I also found that not being able to see bumps in the road was kinda rough on me, as I was unable to properly prepare and adjust my stance accordingly.  One bump knocked me off my saddle.  There is definitely a communication learning curve on a tandem.  One cannot simply coast as-needed to move around on the saddle or take a drink.  Everything has to be "discussed" with the other rider.

Ride #2 on Saturday afternoon found Dane in the stoker seat.  I swear, the kid took to it like it was the most natural thing ever.  He covered a total of 27 miles behind his dad while I rode along on my own bike.

And he was not slacking back there.  He and Derek dropped my ass with ease on a section of road with just the slightest decline.  Jerks!!!  On uphills they had no trouble keeping up with me--so not fair!  Once Dane has more experience they will really leave me in the dust. *sniff*  Guess I'm going to REALLY have to work my butt off if I want to not get dropped on every ride.  Those skinny legs on that boy are deceptive--there must be some serious muscle in there (kid comes by it from both sides of the gene pool).

His only complaint was that his butt hurt a little.  We have already ordered him a better pair of kids' cycling shorts with a real foam chamois paid, instead of the ones he has that have no more than a thin layer of fleece over the crotch seams.

On Sunday we did another ride with Dane on the back of the tandem.  This time we did almost 22 miles (and I still struggled a bit to not get dropped a few times).  I'm already looking forward to next Summer.  I foresee a LOT of long family rides (and maybe some family cyclocross races next Fall!).  We're pretty certain that Dane's first metric century ride will happen at the tender age of 10 if he continues to progress and adapt to riding.  It's so awesome to have a sport that we can share as a family, even if our abilities are all somewhat different.

10.10.2010

Can't not share this!

This was created by students at my super awesome college alma mater - Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI.  If anything makes me want to re-enroll and go for a master's degree, it's this:

It was briefly down, but it's back, now--woot!

10.01.2010

"Slacker" Guilt

This week my workouts have hit a sort of wall.  In recent weeks I've been feeling increasingly burned-out.  At first I thought maybe it was a response to change of seasons and cooler, drearier weather...and seasonal allergies.  And, yes, I think these things are partly to blame for my general malaise.  But I think my body is also telling me, in the only way it can, to give it a break.

2 weeks ago marked the end of my last week of logging >100 miles on the bike.  I managed a 12 week streak, including a 184 mile week.  But once my running returned to 15+ miles/week my body started to rebel.  Between the running, biking, and weight workouts I have been logging a lot of hours each week of activity.  Several weeks on-end of 11-12 hours of exercise seem to be my breaking-point.  I think a scale-back week here and there would have made a difference.  It's just hard to take REST days when I'm trying to do 3 different activities.  Fall has also meant a lot more windy conditions, which has made the biking miles even more challenging--especially since all of my rides in the past month have been solo, so no chance to draft off of anyone and share the workload over the miles.

Add to that my realization that my outdoor biking time will soon be limited by snowy roads, so the impetus to cram as many miles as possible into my weeks is there, too.  In some ways Winter may serve as a necessary break for me.  I am loathe to log much more than 50 miles/week on the trainer.

This week has been a scheduled scale-back week for me...but I've ended up cutting a lot more from my planned workouts than what I initially had on the training calendar.  Instead of 19 miles of running I'm doing 15.  60 miles on the bike, rather than 75, and 1 weight workout, instead of 2.  No doubles, when most weeks I've been doing 2-3 days with 2 workouts.  I just can't motivate myself to do it.  As it is I'm really working to psyche myself up for just 1 workout.  Tomorrow is a blessed rest day.  I think it will consist of laying around, drinking coffee, eating bacon, watching movies in my PJs with the rugrat (DH has a JDRF team ride that will take most of the day), and not leaving the house.  It's gonna be AWESOME!!!

Next week: back to it.  23 miles of running, 75 miles on the bike (or less, depending upon how I feel), 2 weight workouts.  A week from tomorrow there is a bike tour that we may get in on, especially if our tandem has arrived and weather is good.  We'd not plan to do more than 30 miles, since DS won't likely be up to more than that--yet.  Last we knew (a day or two ago) the bike (aka 'Rule #2: Double-Tap'...Zombieland fans will get this) was in paint, so we could have it pretty soon.  Finally I can draft behind someone, again!  We're really looking forward to some Fall family rides before the weather turns.

Time to drag my butt out for a whopping 5-miler, then I can officially start my rest day.  Woot!