Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bachelor Living and the Current Depression

I could describe a great road ride today, but maybe that should wait for the weekly report. I could respond to a comment on the blog from a couple of days ago, about the economic situation , thought I’m not sure how to respond. In a great many ways I agree, this situation seems to be more then normal. More then a recession, at least the level any of us are use to remembering. My grandma H use to talk about the depression, as a teen and young woman. She didn’t know how bad it was because she was young, taken care of, falling in love with my grandpa. I’m sure my great-grand parents, whom I never met, worried. I know I do, as a parent it is all you can do when there is uncertainty or risk that may impact your child.

It’s a bachelor pad at my house this weekend, Ade gone to see our new nephew Zeke, and her mom and sister. Seamus and I living the way bachelor’s do, eating out, sleeping where we want (we built a tent last night in the living room). The partying is mellow though, mostly ice cream with a little wine mixed in for me. Grandma and Grandpa watched Shay this morning so I could ride. I picked him up and we went to the zoo. A beautiful afternoon to walk around and have ice cream while enjoying the animals. We ran into my aunt Jeanine, just a few minutes of conversation, but I learned a lot from her today. Her and my uncle Marty volunteer at the zoo, and today we (Shay and I) learned from her how birds can stay on branches while sleeping . We then ended up spending over an hour in Bird World (not my favorite place, but if we’re learning it must be good).

How does a comment on the blog and an afternoon at the zoo tie together? Well the end of the comment was “I hope this is a transition period where we care less about materialistic things, and more about just enjoying the little things and leaving an imprint on this world other than buying a new Rolex.” Somehow I hope learning about birds is more important then the economic crisis, or even how we respond or how long it goes on. As a parent I can worry about money and taking care of my family constantly these days. More important though, as a parent, is to remember that kids don’t remember the struggles for money they remember the love their parents gave them. My grandma H told me about her recollection of the “great depression” when I was young, now I know the importance of what she was telling me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Scary Thought on the Economy

In a recent discussion on the economy and recession I was confronted with an opinion that while vastly different to mine made so much sense I finally realized we are screwed. I’ve held out hope that the worst part of the global economic crisis is at hand now and soon we will start to see companies recover. Maybe no economic boom, but certainly no depression.

Unemployment is higher then in years, savings at historic lows, ARMs still adjusting people out of homes, credit card debt high, there is no way it could get worse. But then the comment, all these people getting laid off are living off already taxed credit cards and soon, with no “extra” money to pay off debt and current living costs they will have little choice but to file for bankruptcy. This will only cause a recession to fall into a depression.

I was at a party recently and the question of how to tell when a recession becomes a depression came up. The best answer I heard, “when your mother-in-law moves in”. Well, I hope she likes the unfinished basement because there isn’t enough money around to get it finished right now.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Week 11

Saturday was one of the coldest rides I’ve ever done. I was out for over four hours, stopping twice to get hot water to melt my frozen water bottles. Days like that aren’t fun at the time, reaching down for a drink at two hours in to a ride on a climb only to find there is no liquid left. Then the real bad news strikes, at least twenty minutes of riding remain until there is a place to get water.

This is the climb where I realized I had no water or Gatorade to drink, bummer.

Add a few places with ice that altered my planned route and my long ride turned into a slow march home with lots of stops, cold feet, cold hands, cold face and not nearly the miles I had wanted. The strange thing about my ride on Saturday was how tired I felt later. Last week I rode for five hours with lots of climbing. Saturday was four hours with climbing, but much less (probably 1,200 vertical less at a minimum). Yet I was dead later in the day. I could barely stay awake to watch a movie and even this morning I’m feeling a little tired. The good news is tomorrow is a rest day and seems well earned at this point.

Two weeks from tomorrow and I should know if I get into the Leadville 100. After that I can finalize my schedule for the season. Right now I know the Lance Armstrong Foundation LiveStrong ride in late October (you can DONATE TO HELP TOO). Beyond that I’m not sure, though the Front Range 50 on May 9th seems pretty firm. Colorado’s road schedule is just out so I’ll probably figure some of those out soon and after finding out about Leadville finalize plans for the mountain bike season.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Racing Green 2009 Season Goal - Helping to Fight Cancer

As my faithful readers know (thanks to the three of you), over the past few years I’ve tried to incorporate into my cycling something more significant than just riding and racing for the fun of it. In 2007 I raised money for the Environmental Defense Fund in an effort to promote awareness about global warming. Last year I organized a team and promoted some rides to get people out on their bikes for the health and environmental benefits. So what for 2009? Well to be honest, until a few days ago, I didn’t know and wasn’t even sure I would do anything this season. But I was recently inspired by Fatty of Fat Cyclist fame to take up a new cause.

Have you ever read the blog Fat Cyclist? If you haven’t I ask that you check it out. If you are only going to read one post, make it this one-- Dandelion Seeds. Next you should READ THIS ONE(yea I know I said if you only read one, but after Like Dandelion Seeds you’ll read one more) and you’ll get an idea what I’m doing this year.

It is a long way until the LiveStrong ride in Austin (October 23-25) but it is time to sign up and start thinking about donating. Why LiveStrong and why Team Fatty? Well we all have some experience with cancer and its devastating effects, not only on the person with cancer, but also the entire family. I count myself lucky, when my grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer at 88 she didn’t suffer, had lived a long life, full of love, family, and enjoyment. Others aren’t so lucky, having pain and suffering for years. So yea, cancer pretty much sucks and anything that can be done to find cures, ease pain and suffering and offer hope to all those afflicted is a good thing and that is what the Lance Armstrong Foundation is around for. Why Fatty? I don’t know the guy at all. He’s from Utah and so is Ade, but no real connection with him. If he walked by me today I wouldn’t know it. I’ve read his blog for a while and what has always struck me is how much he is like me (or really any of us).

Elden (Fatty) loves his bike, but he loves his wife and family more. He has busted his ass to take care of Susan and his family. If I was in the same position could I do as much as he has? Probably not even close. Taking care of Ade as he has taken care of Susan I would accept and try; being driven to go beyond his personal suffering is what has inspired me to join Team Fatty. Fatty is fighting not just for his wife, he is fighting for everyone afflicted by cancer while at the same time caring for his wife and family. I don’t know anybody with that kind of dedication which is why I’ve been inspired to try to make a small difference. I’ll head to Austin in the fall and ride. Hopefully I’ll actually meet Fatty. I do know we’ll reach the goal of $1,000,000 raised for LAF and fighting cancer. To all my friends and family please link to MY FUND RAISING PAGE and help me raise my portion of the $1,000,000. My personal goal is $2,500 and I am officially 1% of the way there. Any amount helps so please donate a little if you can.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Week 10

An early morning climb at Red Rocks, just me and my shadow

Go big or go home was the thought process for the week. With great weather on tap for the weekend I looked forward all week to a big ride on the weekend. Any other week in January with weather like the past few days I would have put in two huge rides, but I had a Field Test scheduled for Saturday and felt it was important to get that in for hard data on how training is going. Sunday though, still beautiful and lots of miles.

I headed out early (7:00am) to get in a five hour ride. It was still cold but not terrible for January when I left. I went from my house to Morrison, over Red Rocks, to the I-70 side of Lookout Mountain. A good long day with lots of long climbs and even more punchy rollers to keep me going. I rolled out for a total of 4:40 and felt pretty fresh still when I got home. I really tried to focus on eating during the ride, as nutrition has always been an issue for me and if I get into the Leadville 100 I can’t risk not being use to on the bike fueling. I started eating 30 minutes in and made sure to consume something, either a gel or nutrition bar, every 30 minutes. At times this was hard to remember and force down but I never felt my energy lagging during the ride and wasn’t dead when I got home so I think the effort helped. During a race it will be a little harder to eat, as the effort makes fueling tough, but if I keep training nutrition it should be less of an issue then in past years.

Red Rocks again, it is a short climb in the park, but tough.

Climbing Lookout Mountain from the I-70 side, this leads to the Buffalo Overlook exit off I-70, from there a quick turn to Buffalo Bill's Grave and a fast downhill to food and drink in Golden.

I did skimp a little during the week and only did yoga two times. I’ve been trying to get in at least three sessions a week as it helps me stay fresh and pain free riding. On long rides the stress and pressure on the back and shoulders can be pretty bad and the yoga makes the stress far less. Even yesterday after the nearly five hours I didn’t feel sore at all so the yoga is paying off in my mind. This week I’ll make sure to get in all my sessions.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Did my field test this morning and have a mixed view of results. Cold hard data shows:

Max HR 181, Average HR 176, Distance 7.2 Time 20 minutes.

Now look at the previous post and you won't see much change. The differences are Max HR -5bpm this time, Average HR -4bpm this time, Distance = the same. So have I lost fitness? Is the difference in HR small/not significant? Distance traveled isn't a huge concern as it was windy this morning, about 10 mph out of the NE, my route is 20 minutes in roughly one direction, you guessed it NE.

I'll digest for a few days then let you know what I think of the test results.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Field Test

So I've got a field test scheduled for tomorrow. A way to measure how training is going. Here are results from the first one I took under the Lynda W plan (one week in).

field test - 180 bpm max 186 bpm, 7.2 miles cherry creek res

I doubt heart rate will change much but I hope the distance does. I'll post the new results tomorrow. A friend Rob and I have been emailing back and forth on this topic during the week so I know he'll at least be interested.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Week 9

The week of training that nearly wasn’t is how I’m looking at the past week. I started the week sick, so intended to take it a little easy (reducing amount of tempo work and sprints) but trying to keep the volume where I wanted it. Work had other plans though and I was lucky to eak out the 8.5 hours of training I got in.

Sometimes the stress of other aspects of life, in this case work, limits the ability or desire to train. On Wednesday and Thursday mornings I set the alarm to get up and ride. Both days I ended up sleeping more, mostly because falling asleep had been tough with a situation going on at work. The ideal way to start back to work after over two weeks off is not sitting around in conference rooms with people preparing for unexpected presentations to educate and defend your company and more importantly your own good name. I’m lucky that the other people I work with have as much passion and integrity as I do and in the end this little obstacle will just be a great learning opportunity. Last week it was a chance to limit my riding.

I managed to get in another mountain bike ride today though. There is nothing better then being 11 days into January and already have gotten in two mountain bike rides. It was cold and even a few flurries (it looks like I should have waited for the afternoon) but the ride was still fun. The ride was made more fun by the fact I just had the bike tuned for the season and it was smooth and fast. I also put on new grips, some Ergon's. I hadn't had a pair on for about six months, not sure why, as I loved the grips before and felt great with them again today. When riding a lot little things like grips and hand position can make a huge difference, guess I was dumb when I had them off during that time.

It may be a little hard to see in this picture but there is a deer eating. Along the fire road at Green Mountain there must have been 30-40 deer spread out eating the grass and watching all the people hike, run or ride by, it was pretty surreal to see that many deer.

I sent in the entry form for Leadville Trail 100 this week, I’m sure along with thousands of others. I should know by February 9th which is perfect as that will give me a little time to plan my schedule for the rest of the season. I know I want to do the Front Range 50 on May 9th which is essentially 13 weeks after finding out if I get in to Leadville. If I get in I may train a little bigger for the Front Range 50 (more miles then really I’d need to finish that race) to help with the build up to Leadville. If no go on Leadville, well then I’ll figure something else out.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Week 8

The week of training started out great, I got in some good rides, rode the mountain bike for 2:00 on New Years day and on Saturday put in a 4:00 road ride before the (real) cold and snow started. I was looking forward to a short ride Sunday to cap the week, but alas I got a stomach bug that still has me laid up on the couch and no dreams of riding.

Oh well, it is early so I’ll sleep and catch up on riding later.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

January 1

Colorado weather knows how to bring in the New Year for a cyclist. This morning I got up, left the house at 7:30 and was treated to 2 hours of mountain biking. By 8:25 I had climbed to the top of Green Mountain for the first time of the day (and year) and had a chance to enjoy the city while most others were still sleeping or just beginning to work on a hang over cure.

While Green Mountain may not be the best riding around, the climbs are solid, there are some fun downhills and in the winter the trails dry out pretty quick allowing for year round mountain biking.

Part of the climb to the top, riding from the East side of Green Mountain up to the top.

A view of the city to the East from the Green Mountain high point.

Me after the first climb of the year.

Pretty sweet way to get the year started.