Monday, May 21, 2012

Mountain Biking

Well, I have stopped doing ride fast.  Organized plans aren't really my thing.  I just like to ride.  I like the speed. I like the exercise. I like being in the woods.  So for the last few bike rides I have taken I have dusted off my mountain bike and put it through the paces again.

The first couple rides were through Palmer Park.  Although it is not designated mountain biking, not many people use the park in the summer.  It has a few cross country skiing trails that are mostly flat with a few small hills.  It is a good place to start out mountain biking.  Not too twisty, not many hills, but not entirely flat.  I've been down to Fort Custer and most of them trails make Palmer Park look like a kiddy slide.

Mountain biking is quite different to road cycling.  Road cycling you are pedaling almost constantly. Your breathing/heart rate stays at steady rate and doesn't get very high except on hills or when you decide to sprint.  Mountain biking on the other hand you don't pedal constantly and your cadence(how fast you spin your pedals around) varies on the terrain.  For example, when you go through a sand pit you will switch to an easier gear and spin the pedals as fast as you can to keep your momentum until you are past the sand pit.  Also in mountain biking your breathing/heart rate doesn't stay steady.  It spikes quite often due to spinning your legs as fast as you can, more hills, and you are not on a smooth surface so there is more friction.  Mountain bike paths are more twisty too so you turn your handlebars more sharply and more often than road cycling.

Yesterday I went mountain biking in Grand River Park.  The trails in there are much more challenging than Palmer Park.  Sections of the trail are covered in grass which really slows you down, so the trail feels like a steeper hill than it actually is.  There is a couple hills that are too steep for me to ride up right now.  I try my best to get up them as far as I can and hike my bike up the rest of the way.  Temperature was higher yesterday and the humidity was high too.  I was huffing and a puffing a lot of the time and my body was beat by the time I went home.

For a final note just as a warning for this year.  I noticed that poison ivy plants are growing much faster and bigger this year so watch out!
In case you don't know what it looks like:

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ride Fast Day 2

I'm feeling pretty good so I combined 1st week Sunday ride with 2nd week Wednesday ride.  So this would be ride 60 minutes with some harder pushes here and there.
Location: Millennium Park
Distance: 14.3 miles
Average Speed: 14.2 mph
Max Speed: 23.7 mph
Time: 1:00
Odometer: 99 miles

One of the nice things about cycling is the after ride meal.  Corn and black bean quesadillas and chocolate milk, Yum!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ride Fast Day 1

Easy Ride around 30-45 mins
  I'm actually starting on a little farther in the plan than Eric starts with.  In the book this would be first week, Saturday ride.  I'm going to be busy tomorrow though and it's suppose to rain.  I wore a fleece since I can't afford a cycling jacket yet.  It was about 50 degrees out and sunny.
Location: 30 min Kent Trails
Distance: 6.3 mi
Average Speed: 13.3 mph
Max Speed: 17.7 mph
Time: 29 mins
Odometer: 85 mi

Was a little shy on the time.  Was a fun easy ride.  The fleece kept me warm most of the time after I warmed up.  I don't feel sluggish at all, only energized.  Next time it's cold I will warm up a little inside before leaving.

New Plan, By the Book

As you read from my last post, I had some burnout.  So when one plan fails you work out a new plan.
    My nephew bought my a book last Christmas call Ride Fast by Eric Harr.  It claims you can get up to an average of 20 mph(32Km/hr) in 10 weeks.  It progresses at a slower pace than what I tried so it is worth a try for me.  I will have to modify it a little since Eric lives in a nicer weather area than me.  But I will try my best to follow it to the word.  Besides the training program the book has some nice nutrition  and other information.


Well, I got over zealous and rode too far last week.  My body has been aching for the last week since then.  Have to build up slowly on the miles and time.  I felt fine while I was riding, but felt like crap since then.  Too much of a shock to my system.  Don't make the same mistake I did.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Watch Your Time, Not Your Distance

Here is something I learned recently.  Watching your time and not your distance makes sense if you think about it.  You should have already planned out how far you are going before you ride so keeping track of that number really doesn't help you.  Keeping track of time is a better in that you can make sure you drink and have a snack at the right time before you will become thirsty or before your blood sugar drops too low.  This will keep your energy up and will help you be able to ride farther.  Right now I stop for 5 mins at 30 min intervals and have half a fruit cereal bar and drink 8 oz. of water.  This may change in the future, but for right now it works for me.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

4-19-12 Ride

Went riding in Millennium Park today.  This was my first ride wearing tights and so far I like them.  They keep my knees warm enough and my legs cool enough, plus I didn't feel my feet go numb.  I still don't have any long sleeve jerseys and my arms seem to go numb on and off.  This time I didn't forget to bring snacks and that helped keep up my energy even with going farther than I did last time.  My glutes became real tired toward the end, but I didn't feel like I hit a wall.  I kept an eye on the time on my cycling computer making sure I kept drinking every 15 mins. throughout the ride and I ate a snack about every 40 mins. 
    I put a extra small pack on my bike to carry some more gear(bike lock, snacks, Driver ID).  This worked out okay, I could tell there was some extra weight.  I will probably only take this if I need the lock when I know I'm going to stop someplace I will need it.  Once I get the pockets sewn on my jersey I can put my snacks in there along with my keys and I won't need the extra pack.
    I scouted out some of the Standale trail while I was there.  It looks pretty good.  Not too busy of road there.  The trail crosses a couple roads right away and the rest looks like it will be more of the same.  Millennium Park is a gem for road riding.  You just keep going and going, no roads to cross.  Love it!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Cycling Clothing

Bought some new cycling clothing last Saturday at a big sale they were having at a local bike shop.  Bought a pair of better quality shorts for $45 and some tights, so I can ride in this colder weather, for $41.  I also bought a map of the local area trails for $1.80.  They threw in a book of western Michigan trails for free.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Couple of Ride Stats

I went cycling last Saturday(4-7-12) and this Sunday(4-15-12) here are my stats for each.  I also weighed in last Sunday and today.

4-07-12 Millennium Park - Trip: 14.9 miles - Avg: 13.9mph - MaxSpd: 26.8mph - Time: 1:04 - ODO: 14 miles - It was a little windy in some places.

4-08-12 Weigh in: 218.4 lbs.

4-15-12 Kent Trails S of Wentworth - Trip: 13.7 miles - Avg: 13.7mph - MaxSpd: 26.1mph - Time: 59:48 - ODO: 29 miles - Quite windy on the way south

4-15-12 Weigh in: 215.4 lbs.

Purpose of this Blog

The purpose of this blog is to record my journey as a cyclist.  I hope to post tips and techniques that I learn along the way that may help you too.  There is a lack of this in cycling magazines.  They mostly tell you how to become an elite cyclists.  This advice tells you to buy expensive equipment and clothing that will either require you to have a higher income or spend all the money you have on it.  I'm here to tell you, you don't need to pay $80 for one pair of bike shorts to get a decent pair.  My first pair cost me $30.  So you pair that with a shirt that wicks moisture away that is $15 and your all set for clothing at $45.  Sure a cycling jersey with form fitting fabric, zipper, and 3 pockets would be nice, but it's also twice that price or more.  Soon I'm going to sew on 3 pockets in the back of mine for a few dollars.  I may even eventually make my own jersey at a fraction of what it would cost me to buy one.  So come on the journey with me as I build up my miles and speed, lose weight, and expose new pathways.