Tag Archives: Strava

Riding off the grid

So I’ve been AFK for almost 2 weeks. Trying to come up with something to talk about while not boring people to death. Here’s what resulted:

After a few misfortunes over the last month (messing up the bike, getting it fixed, working a 5-day work schedule, scale being smashed to bits), I’ve come to realize how little some things matter to my fitness. I originally needed the scale in order to track my progress in weight loss, but now could care less about my weight – I can see and definitely feel the difference.

The same could be said about this blog. While it’s a great tool to find information as well as share it, it’s not necessary for my journey to well-being. Don’t fret, I’ll still be posting.

However, I thought I’d just share this revelation with you readers to use as a segue to talk about some recent rides I’ve taken – just a couple of them.

Disconnected From Technology

If you’d like to see the summaries, go here – I’m talking about 10/29 – 11/4. I didn’t really worry about numbers and most, if not all, of the pause time is on there, so they’re not even close to accurate.

I’ve set off on the last 5 rides with the phone in my back pocket (usually, it’s mounted on my stem) and my heart rate monitor at home. I wanted to ride alone so to speak – no screen to tell me my heart rate is too slow, that I need to speed up, that there’s 20 miles left…too many things to worry about instead of just enjoying the ride. Without the distractions, cycling is such a simple yet amazing experience.

So, what did I do instead of worry about numbers? I enjoyed the scenery for one. I went on 2 longer rides that I previously rode and really soaked up all the things around Lake Weir and Belleview. Trees, grass, ponds, animals, people – all mixed up in a beautiful blurred painting as a zip past.

There’s also this thing about one’s bike talking. This is something that I’ve missed a lot since college. I used to be able to tell what was right or wrong with my bike just by riding it a certain way (e.g. riding out of the saddle can quickly tell you whether your stem/headset needs adjusting). With my focus on the ride, these things become more apparent. And my bike, is riding beautifully. No chain rubs, no bracket clicks, no headset vibrations – just a smooth, easy ride. This, my friends, is a beautiful thing!

Lastly, the experience itself is flat out better – I mean performance better. The numbers might be deceiving, mostly due to pause times (I couldn’t very well take out my phone to pause the recorder). But, I can tell you, I knew they were better rides just by the way I felt afterward. My adrenalin was topped, my heart pounding, sweat dripping off my nose and chin, followed later by exhausted muscles and a sadistic satisfaction as a result. All in all, a great week of riding.

The Worst of the Best Rides

As of late, I’ve been talking about the winds in Florida. Winds are tame in the early morning, no more than 5 mph before 10 or 11. They usually kick up after that to at least 15 mph. Recently, though, there have been some days with gusts in the 30’s. I had come to notice that the winds have always been coming from either the West or Northwest. This is a tricky direction where I live. Just getting out of The Villages is tough purely because I have to go north to be safe (I can go east for a short time, but the construction currently there is frightening). So, I’ve been doing what I had thought was the best idea, trying out some southerly rides (which turn out to be heavy wind-ridden on the way home) and, my last ride went west. The idea here is to try to get a mostly headwind (not direct like going north) early on when energy levels are high, and use the tailwinds to get home.

Well, the southerly rides, as I said turn into northerly rides on the way home and that’s just awful. So, my last ride went west to Inverness. I started fairly early, so the winds were negligible. The ride went great on the way there. The scenery was amazing – lost of meadows, ponds with lily pads galore and even some nice sloping hills. Right around mile 20, the winds started to kick up. How fast, I would find out when I turned around to go home, because lucky me! – they were coming from the East this fine day! They were beyond fast, with gusts that made riding straight impossible. I was deafened by the roars in my ears, making hearing oncoming vehicles difficult. A bad mix. Nevertheless, I pushed through the wind and made it to The Villages. As soon as I turned away from the headwind to make it into a tailwind, “TSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!” Tire blow-out. Not just tube – tube and tire.

My rear Gatorskin’s sidewall was shot. After a quick inner tube change (I don’t carry a patch kit), and some cunning use of a Cliff Bar wrapper to line the inside of my tire to prevent the tube from protruding, I rode with that tailwind at a stunning speed of 12 mph to prevent another tube from puncture (I also left Strava running whilst changing the tube. Hence why my numbers are spectacularly awful). Perfect ending, I know. Still a better ride than some previous ones purely due to the absence of my phone screen on my stem.

The end result, I’m waiting 2 days for some tires to be delivered before I ride again. I ordered 25mm tires at the recommendation of my cousin this time around to see what all the fuss is about (being as old-school as a 33-year-old can, I’ve ridden 23mm since the day I got my first real bike).

More on that to come…maybe.

The 1 hour rides

Due to my 5-day work schedule this past week, I set out to ride only 1 hour each day.

I had a great time doing things this way. The hour was quick enough to prevent scenery burnout and I was able to really test my speed improvements, if I had any over the last couple weeks.

Ride 1

Since I’m not so app-savvy whilst in the saddle, this ride got split into 2 different rides, as opposed to 2 laps. But, the stats would be close to the same, with the last 5+ miles suffering quite a bit due to the split and me eagerly trying to start the app up again, failing, then just giving into technology’s superiority and stopping to get the app recording again.

Lap 1

  • 20.1 miles; 01:00:01
  • 20.1 mph ave. speed – new record!
  • 34.7 mph max speed

Lap 2

  • 5.5 miles; 00:18:36
  • 17.7 mph ave. speed – yuck!
  • 26.8 mph max speed

OK, so the lap 2 is pathetic, but like I said, I had to stop to get the app going and I’m chalking up my poor performance to that cooling down period. Lap 1 is what I’m really focused on in any case as I was aiming for 1 hour rides. 20.1 mph average speed! I had so much fun going this fast! The lack of wind made it so easy to really push myself hard and to get all my muscles working the way I’ve been used to working them. Easy in that it wasn’t any extra work than before. I still worked my ass off this ride and had to take an extra roll around my neighborhood for a cool down. What fun though!

Ride 2

  • 19.7 miles; 01:01:32
  • 19.2 mph ave. speed
  • 30.2 mph max speed

WINDS! I can’t believe how windy it’s getting in Florida. As I’ve mentioned before, I used to live in Kansas (the true capitol of wind), and my afternoon rides are starting to remind me of what it might have been like to ride there. They always seem to come from the Northwest too, so there’s no real good routes to go on that would allow that to become a tailwind.

Regardless, I am still making improvements on windy rides. 19.2 mph with a cross/headwind for a vast majority of the ride sounds pretty good to me.

I finally found the infamous golf cart bridge across Hwy 441 and climbed that twice. It’s a nice steep grade, but only a couple hundred feet long – still the steepest I’ve found here, including Suglarloaf “Mountain”. So I’ll probably keep heading that way to keep climbing something substantially steep – I’ll try to get a picture next time as well.

Ride 3

  • 17.3 miles; 00:55:36 – actual distance and time is longer, the last 3 miles weren’t recorded.
  • 18.7 mph ave. speed
  • 39.8 mph max speed – new record!

Yay! Another new max speed record! It all happened on Micro Racetrack Rd., a stretch that I typically don’t do well on. This ride was different though! All those windy rides are paying off! This ride was windy as well, but for Micro Racetrack, the winds seemed to stop. So, I took advantage and really pushed hard up this road and the result is my new speed record!

My respite from the wind was short-lived, as soon as I left Micro Racetrack, cross/headwinds reunite! I think my average speed was around 20.3 mph at the end of Micro Racetrack, and as you can tell, I dropped significantly thereafter. I was actually expecting some portions of my return home to have tailwinds, but that expectation was thwarted by nature. Still, 18.7 mph isn’t bad, just not my best.

The last 3 miles got cut off in Strava for some reason. Not going to over think it. But I really wish it was there because I sprinted the last mile up Buttonwood and I really wanted to see if I made a new record for myself to beat. I guess I’ll just have to try it again soon.


I made some great improvements on my speed this week, and it’s not even over yet! I think with some morning rides (when I more frequently ride), I will be able to better judge my improvements.

Some of this has to be a result of some weight loss or, at the very least, weight transfer (fat to muscle). I can somewhat verify that I’ve gained some nice, lean muscle just by looking at my legs and arms, but I can’t confirm the weight gain/loss until I replace my scale…it’ll happen soon – I just have to find time (and that time is better spent in the saddle).

The stark absence of my ride analyses explained!

I know, a riveting subject. One that needs explanation nonetheless. Don’t worry, there’s a ride later on.

So, as I mentioned before, I had some difficulty getting on my bike once my new job started back at the beginning of October. This also just happened to be when my lovely bike broke (or more accurately, I broke it) – at the end of the Eddy Merckx Strava Challenge.

Stage is set. All of these things added together ‘kinda-sorta’ burned me out with the blog and riding. Not a bad burnout, a good one. How can it be a good burnout? Does such a thing exist? Yes!

SCorched Earth

The blog had gotten difficult to post on during my new job training, simply because I spent so much time in front of a computer, and will continue to do so for the next 4 weeks. So that’s not changing. This is good because, to be honest, computer-ing takes it out of me. Sitting at work, then at home for such a long time staring at a wall of text exhausts my mind with its dullness. Simply put, I enjoyed not being on this blog for those 2 weeks. It gave me a needed break.

While I didn’t have a choice in my break from my bike for about 3 days, I chose not to ride as much over the last 2 weeks because of the 777.8 km I had ridden in the 17 days prior to my faulty mechanical skills ruining my bike. I had a lot of time put on the bike in those 17 days in a lot of the same routes (which many cyclists can tell you, gets pretty boring after a while). No, not in the 17 days, but also add in the 3 months prior and it was a lot of the same ‘ol scenery. While this is good in some aspects, it made my rides a little grind-esque. So, my rides decreased in quantity and quality for about 2 weeks.

The good news, I will find balance eventually. The new job schedule is kind of crap at the moment due to special classes in far off lands, but it will be more manageable in the the next 3 weeks. So, yay!

Semi-nude Photos

Oh yes, my physical progress page. I’ve been slacking, I know. Our scale was accidentally kicked by yours truly and it shattered into a million bits, making it impossible to weigh myself.

Also add in that I’ve been having a good ‘ol time with food lately, making me less proud of myself over the last 2 weeks. No worries, I’ll get it back in no time. Just needed to lapse right quick.

Make it all stop!

OK! Last weekend I completed an absolutely wonderful ride to Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. Yes, that’s the name of a town here.

The Ride!

  • 60.7 miles; 03:20:29
  • 18.2 mph average speed
  • 38.7 mph max. speed – new personal record!

The scenery was amazing. So much goodness in the land around Lake County. Dense foliage and gently sloping hills abound!

10.19.2014 HINTH sign

The sign that proves the name!

10.19.2014 HINTH Pond

Pond full of lily pads. I should have taken a panoramic, this open area was huge!

10.19.2014 HINTH overlook

An overlook of the area north of Howey-in-the-Hills. You can see just a sliver of Little Lake Harris near the horizon.

I am very proud of this ride. Lots of mileage (almost another metric century) – to be honest, it probably was 100 km due to all the back-tracking I did for these pictures as well as forgetting to get water refills about 1 mile out of town.

Let’s talk about winds!

Yes, we all hate them. But I’m starting to enjoy the results of riding in them. I am getting much better at riding in the drops – I still need work, but man what an improvement. Without the winds, I would have delayed the discomfort of the drops for a while. Since that’s not the case, I find my speed is increasing on flatland as well as downhills. This ride, I was able to reach yet another high speed – 38.7 mph! Thank you, drops!

Since I reaped the benefit of riding in winds, they needed their revenge. And they got it on this ride. From mile 38 to my terminus, nothing but head and cross winds. Yes, my average speed suffered greatly as a result. But hey, 18.2 mph with no tailwinds (they started up right about when I exited the hills of Howey-in-the-Hills), sounds pretty good to me! In any case, I spent most of the last 20 miles in the drops at a steady 17-18 mph. It actually felt amazing to tear thru the winds that would have previously destroyed my momentum as well as my spirit just a month ago. It just goes to show you how much riding in what we might consider crap conditions, could end up being the place we make the most improvements.

All this, Summarized

Great speed, great technique in the winds, great scenery = great ride, happy Joel!

I will be getting in just one photo this month for comparison with July (without a weight since I have no more scale in the house).

I will be posting more, but less than I was at the start of all this.

Varn Park ride finalized!

My 100-mile (166-km) ride from The Villages to Varn Park finally has a date!

November 17, I’ll be setting off at 0700 (or so) with my wife, dog and parents in tow! My wife will most likely be the one posting my updates to the blog for anyone who’s interested in following that day.

I’ll be posting some random topics about this century ride in the coming weeks to hopefully be a guide for those people who want to try this for the first time – heck even some seasoned cyclists may find something of value!

Where the heck have I been?

I wish I could say that I have been off doing amazing things on or off the bike. To tell you the truth, the last couple of weeks have been lackluster to say the least.

It all started with my bike being less than perfect (mostly the rear wheel), but then my attempt to fix all the other problems obviously didn’t help. The bike shop I brought it to did do an amazing job fixing it up and my first ride on it was just wonderful. It honestly felt like a new bike.

The downside to this, I found a fault in my rear wheel that ride. Perhaps its my weight, requiring me to true it all the time, but one of my spoke popped all its tension out when I got out of my saddle for a climb. I shortened that ride because of this, only to find that the nipple/spoke or the rim is stripped. So now my wheel is all jacked up.

Still, it’s not awful, so I still get to ride. I know I’m not doing my wheel any favorites by climbing on it, but I still need to ride, right? The options are to hopefully get the spoke replaced (praying its not beyond repair) or to get a new wheel. I’d definitely not prefer the latter, since the wheel I’d want is pretty expensive (as all the good ones are).

So, I’ve been riding less as a result. I’m taking days off when I would have been out on a 12-20 mile ride. I’m not going on my mandatory one long ride (35+ miles).

The ugly side of retirement

To attempt to get out of the funk, I did something I really regret. I tried to go on a Villages Club ride. Why is this bad? Turns out retirement makes a great many men turn sour. I arrived early at their meeting spot as any good guy would. I had some adjustments to make to my pedals, so I quickly did that whilst waiting. In that time, two men had arrived and were continuously circling around the parking lot to keep their legs warm. Once I was satisfied with my pedals being sufficiently tight, I set off to greet one of them. Now, I know I can be quiet sometimes, but I adjusted my volume accordingly since I knew any amount of wind in someone ears would render them deaf to my docile tones. I kindly said, “Good morning!” with a wave and a smile on my face. Threatening and aggressive, I know. The guy was looking straight in my eyes, clearly heard my voice, then just looked away and kept riding. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and let him go off and attempted again when our paths met again. Stone face, Part 2!

OK! Off to the other guy. Same response. I was starting to feel a little unwelcome. By the time Guy 2 had his second chance, another man and woman had arrived. Third time’s a charm? Wrong! Both Stonewalled me. So, I did what any person would do when treated like a pariah – I left. I was clearly not welcome and those people didn’t seem like the kind I’d want to ride with in any case. So, I finished my ride and had a great time without those surly old timers. I’d like to say it was great day, but their attitudes really took their toll on my candor for the rest of the day. So, in the end, awful experience and I definitely won’t be returning to that club.

Work’s a “B”

So, the job’s starting to require more time as I progress thru training. This is not OK! Less and less time to ride the bike! Two posts ago, I commented on active recovery being the way to go for me – and I stand by that statement. However, with all the hours I’ll be putting into dialysis, I realize that was a dream at best. In fact, next week I’ll be lucky to ride at all on a weekday as I’ll be travelling 45 mins – 1 hour each way to a training class that’s scheduled from 08 – 17. With the weather the way it’s been the last week in the AM (50 ºF, 95+% humidity) and darkness setting in at 1830, I foresee this problem sticking around for a while.

Good news?

There is some! With a twist…I feel healthy, I’m staying interested in cycling and I have a good time on the bike pretty much no matter what. The twist is that the scenery is burning me out. I need some new places to ride and it’s tough to find any where since I’m new to Central Florida. I simply need to get to a club that won’t ignore me and cast me out with the lepers.

Abundant annoyances

Although I had a great week on the bike, my cycling off the bike took some huge hits this week. It’s really the little annoyances that make the huge difference once they stack all up together.

First, I thought I’d give my bike a good cleaning the other day. All the de-greasing and soap a bike could ask for. It turned out great to look at. Then I sat on it and tried to pedal. click-click-click. I could feel it each down-stroke of my right foot. It was just a small noise as first, but as my ride went on it became louder to the point where I didn’t want to ride.

Then this pesky rear wheel of mine is giving me some huge problems. With my higher than normal body mass, every bump I hit is risking a wobbly wheel. As I mentioned the other day, during my 130 km ride I hit a bad bump over some railroad tracks. While it didn’t give me a flat, it sure did make the wheel wobbly. So, I patched it up the best I could with a small crescent wrench and eye-sight. I was fairly proud of myself. But, just one short ride (the same as the click), and I could feel the wobble – in a big way.

Then my headset comes loose. Not all the way, just enough so I could notice it. Truth be told, if bearings were indestructible, I wouldn’t have cared it was so small of a difference.

So, being a prudent cyclist with little to no tools, I figured now would be a good time to bring it in to my local cyclery. The click was gone, my rear wheel was true, and my headset was solid again. For 25 miles.

Now to add insult to injury, my shifting was dodgy. Frustrated I took to my tools and tried to patch everything up. It’s been a while, so I headed to GCN’s youtube channel and went to town with the How To videos. I felt confident seeing as I used to do this stuff all the time when I was in college.

I’ve said it a couple times this week and I’ll say it again. Hindsight is 20/20. Before I’m fully capable, I’ll need some supplies, including but not limited to a stand (so annoying running from one side to another), truing stand, new cables, cable cutters, a decent Philp’s screwdriver, and a light! But, I didn’t have any of this, so now my poor steed is nearly out of commission. So, no ride today, tomorrow and until who knows when.

It’s odd. I feel helpless all of a sudden. Nothing to do, except blog about it. Hopefully I’ll be able to get my bike back in time for Thursday or Friday so I can get in some long rides (my days off from work).

In other news, my wife is the greatest. She tries to help me in any way she can. She’s still encouraging even when the mech’s got me frustrated. She even said a new rear wheel might be expensive “but doable.” Also, she started painting a picture of me on the bike! What a lady I’ve got.

In any case, see ya when I see ya!

The Gran Fondo!

Oh yes! Completed! Only with some minor difficulty, mostly related to my phone’s tracking app too. So no riding problems except…you guessed it! WIND!

  • 80.94 miles, 04:40:48 (Strava link – inaccurate numbers)
  • 02:54:59 paused time (there’s a reason I’m posting this)
  • 17.3 mph average speed
  • 37.43 mph max speed

Some explanation about the paused time. Yes, 3 hours is a long time to pause. It should have only been around 45 mins, but I ran into some phone problems. So, I had to take some longer breaks after my big break at 50 miles to sit back and let my phone charge so as to not lose my ride. In retrospect, this made my ride a hell of a lot more difficult. Trying to warm up 4 times is a pain in the arse to say the least. But, I wanted this ride completed so I could analyze it, especially the end. Again, looking back, I probably should have just kept going instead of waiting for the wife to come with my charger. Oh well. You live, you learn.

The nitty-gritty

Breakfast at 0530. 1 cup rolled oats, 1 cup water, 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/8 cup raisins, 1 tbsp maple syrup and a giant glass of water. I waited about 30 mins to start stretching and warming up, and by 0615, I was off!

The gear

  • 1 helmet
  • 1 pair glasses
  • 1 pair riding gloves
  • 1 tail light
  • 1 head light
  • 1 hand pump
  • 2 bottles
  • 1 inner tube
  • 1 multi tool
  • 2 tire levers
  • 8 energy gels
  • 15 cups water
  • 4 cups gatorade
  • 1 Powerbar

I aimed to keep my speed above 17 mph, although this was secondary to completing the 130 km. If I dipped slightly below, it wouldn’t have killed me, but it all turned out great in the end. But, to split it up, I wanted the first 20 miles to be around 17 mph, the next 40 to be 18 mph and the final 20 to be 17 mph again.

I chose a familiar route that combined a lot of smaller rides into one. Lake Weir, The Villages figure 8, and Hwy 301. There was some mileage at the start that was unknown to me, but most of it I had driven before and felt confident about it on the bike.

The first 20

All went as planned. I was around 17.5 mph and still feeling like new. While turning off of Hwy 44, I hit some poorly covered railroad tracks hard with my rear wheel and was a little worried about a flat for a bit, but my tube held firm. Shortly after, I got locked into a gated community with some surely old people residents who refused to let me out. But it didn’t slow me down much.

The middle 40

Again, went as planned – until my mile 50 break. During my trip up Morse Blvd, I changed my course as I was joined by another cyclist named Bob. He was cordial and talkative and we got to know each other as well as 2 unfamiliar cyclists could in the 3.5 km we rode together. The good news, I found about the 2 clubs that ride thru The Villages every day of the week, minus Sunday. So, maybe I’ll be doing some club rides here soon. In any case, his club showed up and we went our separate ways. Before I knew it, I was out of the compound and into untamed Florida!

The trip around Lake Weir was amazing! I did a lot better than I thought on the hills, and even found a new hill to climb! The best part about this discovery is the descent. Yet another new high speed at 37.43 mph! Pretty intoxicating, to say the least! That little bit of speed helped my confidence and energy levels quite a bit for the rest of the ride around Lake Weir. I kept my speed around 18 mph, like I had planned, so I was feeling pretty good.

Then the trouble hit. At 50 miles, I took my scheduled break and attempted to charge my phone in the wife’s car. It was a nice 30 min break, but the phone didn’t charge as much as I’d hoped. Oh well, right? I’ll get to that pesky phone later.

The final 20

As I set off from my break, I felt good for a few miles. Then the sugar dip came. I downed 2 gels and a lot of my Gatorade and felt a lot better, but slightly shaky on the pedals. This would prove to be my downfall toward the end.

To make things worse, as soon as I turned on to Buena Vista Blvd, the headwinds came. At least 15 mph of constant wind with gusts in the 20’s. While this may not seems like much to some, it kills me. I’m not quite used to riding in the winds yet, and spending a lot of time in the drops this late proved difficult. So the wind got the best of me.

Also, that pesky phone started flashing its low batter warning. So, I felt compelled to take a break at my parent’s abode. When I arrived, I called the wife to come meet me with the charger again. She got there as quickly as she could, but that turned out to be an hour. Then I had to wait for the phone to charge and I was rather impatient after another hour and set off with just over 10% of battery life. Hindsight is 20/20 – I could have just finished my ride in that hour. Again – you live, you learn.

As I set off from my parent’s house, I felt OK, but still shaky in the pedals. Once I got a good taste of that same headwind, I started to not feel OK. Nevertheless, I pushed onward.

I got home with about 2 miles left on the ride and no battery life. So more pause time to charge and cool down the muscles…what a pain. Once I had that 10% of battery, I set off for the final 2 miles of the ride.

The finish was less climactic this time around. While this is 30 km longer than my previous distance record, I didn’t feel so emotional about the finish. No idea why.

Active recovery

All in all, I think I have some thanks to give to Bgddyjim @ Fit Recovery. I think that I did a lot better with the active recovery than I would have with a rest day. My legs felt so much lighter than they have with rest days. Good on ya, Bgddyjim!

what did we learn?

If you’re using only an iPhone, get a battery case! I can’t tell you how much easier this ride would have been with the knowledge that my phone would record my every mile without crapping out on me.

Short breaks take the cake. I could feel the difference in my legs and chest after my unscheduled breaks – especially the last two. Stretching helped, but my warm-ups on the bike took forever. I will be investing in that iPhone battery case to make this happen for me. But even on my 50 mile break, I felt that I could have cut it down some to keep the legs warm.

Challenge accepted! And completed!

Eddy Merckx and Gran Fondo completed! Both with this ride. That felt and still feels great. So, 700 km in 15 days for me and a 130 km ride completed!


A change of pace

After doing some reading at my favorite blog, I did some research about active recovery and have decided to give it a shot during this month. Basically, I won’t be taking any days off (except in the case of bad, bad weather). Instead, one day will be dedicated to a nice slow and easy ride every once in a while. I’ll be starting this immediately, and at the time of this post, I’ve already taken my first active recovery day.

I planned this day to be the day before my big 130 km ride, which I just completed…I’ll be blogging separately about that ride. So, the gauntlet is set. We’ll have to see how the next few days go physically so I can make my first assessment of active recovery.

Let’s get into some riding

Nothing really special about the last 4 rides I had. Except the wind. It’s really starting to cramp my style. The worst part is, the wind always comes from the Northwest here, which just happens to be a headwind for the last 2-5 miles on each of my routes, no matter what I do. So that’s fun.

I think the most aggravating part of the wind is that I can’t hear anything – including the awful golf carts driven by the senile. It also isn’t fun going into these round-a-bouts with the same senile people driving automobiles. But, hey! What’s life without some risky behavior every once in a while?

In any case, I suffered somewhat on the rides on Sept 30, Oct 1 and Oct 2. I don’t know why, but my body felt slightly bonked the entire way on all 3 rides. I pushed thru each though with some difficulty. Average speeds still up there in the 18 mph bracket, so that’s nice given those nasty headwinds.

I’ve noticed that my time in the drops is becoming extended with each ride. As of late I’ve been trying to spend as much time as possible down there – mostly due to the head/side winds. I don’t notice much of a speed increase when I do, but I know that’s probably me just ignoring the fact that if I wasn’t in the drops, my speed would be significantly lower – who knows?

All in all, good rides.

Active recovery – take 1

I took the ride nice and slow and didn’t try to push my heart rate above 160 (and I only did briefly). It went well. I got to enjoy the lovely scenery of the perfectly manicured lawns and medians of The Villages (yes, that’s sarcasm).  Thirty minutes was the goal and I hit it perfectly with an average speed of 15.5 mph. We’ll see how much it benefits me in the big ride of 130 km in my next post!

Also, here’s a picture =)


Breaking in The Villages.

Farewell, September.

This month in review

This month had a bunch of amazing events for me. Metric century, speed increases, a big hill kicking my ass – you know, the usual.

First and foremost is the metric century. It was a pretty emotional ride for me. I thought at one point that my physical abilities were beyond repair. To complete this ride after just 3 months of practice was just beautiful enough to make this guy cry – while riding. I will always remember that ride as the one that made me truly believe in myself. Confidence abound!

My speed increases came in like a marching band, slow and steady – up until this month. It seemed I just jumped past the 17 mph mark and went straight up to 18. Then as if by some crazy coincidence, the headwinds came – challenging my speeds. They did slow me down, but not as much as I expected. I kept my speed at or just above 18 mph. I’m very proud of this. I even had a couple 19 mph rides! Woo!

I also set my new high speed mark at 35 mph. What a thrill that was. Unfortunately it came right after a big hill took me down a couple notches, so I couldn’t go even faster or even enjoy it as much as I should have. But, I can’t have everything just given to me, right? I wouldn’t appreciate it if I didn’t work hard for it. The hills I’ve been riding up until that day were big for me and they’re starting to get small for me. Sugarloaf Mountain proved that to me with the resounding sound of my heavy huffing and puffing whilst zig-zagging uphill.

The good part of this, I did actually make it up the entire hill without getting out of the saddle. So, it’s still a win. Now, I’m just going to have to keep going back to climb that road over and over again until it’s yesterday’s news. I think once a week will probably suffice.

I’m doing pretty well in the Eddy Merckx Challenge, which I just wrote about. While it won’t end until October 9, I still think the brunt of my work will have occurred in September. I’m just 194 kilometers away with 9 days left!

Upcoming in October

150 miles per week and a 130 km ride. Read more about it on my October goals page! It should be interesting for me.

If your September was half as good as mine, you did well this month. I’ll see you all in October!

Eddy Merckx Challenge update

Well, it’s been 11 days, just over the halfway mark. 506 kilometers down, 194 to go.

Not too bad so far, although I was suffering from some pretty severe fatigue the other day with all the rides I’d been on with the stomach bug. But, yesterday’s rest day sure made it a ton easier to ride today – 1/2 century done, 2 more to go in 8 days.

Feeling pretty good about finishing this challenge. I’m sure I’ll be beat by the end, but it’ll be worth it just to know I could ride this much in 20 days.

Remember to track my progress over on the Eddy Merckx Challenge page!