Thursday, January 31, 2013

Let your nose be your cycling guide


Today it was about 5 degrees celsius and I was sucking in lots of cold air with just a hin of pole cat road kill.  I say this fact with a bit of sarcasm but I sometimes like this smell.   the fact that when I ride my sense of smell gets an extra treat of being in use and a primary sensory experience on my bike is fascinating.

In a car you do not experience the sense of smelling your environment as you pass through it.  On a bike you smell everything from distant BBQ smoking in a backyard grill to pies baking or beacon frying in a farm house kitchen on a cold morning.  Today even the road kill was refreshing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Training ride

I am using Runtastic to track my riding routes and training.  My ride today is a personal best for my commute to work.  My finishing pace was above 29 KMPH which for me is amazing.  At one point on MLK I sustained a speed of 33 KMPH in my 3-8 gear.  This ride comes the day after I haul my training Burley to work on my short route of 20 KM one way.  The weight training that I do with the Burly always pays off with a faster ride the next day.

My long bike commute which is about 40 KM one way is what I call my spring commute.  When I ride this I try to ride as fast as I can especially on Eight mile Road which has some hills (for down here).   My short commute home is where I just ride relaxed.  Usually when I sprint to work on a Monday or Tuesday by the time Friday rolls around I just have a normal ride to work because I am basically tired of riding as fast as I can so I just ride.

It is this training routine that gets me to the point of riding long distances like my recent ride to Thomasville of 225 KM.  My next long distance ride will be to Brunswick, Ga. which is 292 KM.  I will not do a round trip to Brunswick, I'll ride there and spend the night in a hotel and drove back. My wife Sylvia will drive the car down and we will have the next day to just hang out at the beach.

One thing that I like about Runtastic is the cheering.  At first I never turned it on, but now I always turn it on.  Sometimes when I am riding like this morning I am on a dark road lost in my thoughts and then I hear a cheer and it gets me excited and I ride faster.  Today I got 4 cheers.  I return the karma to the works by cheering for folks around the world who are doing some sort of activity and are allowing folks like me to cheer them on.  Go world!

Monday, January 28, 2013

The trainer

I decided to weigh my gear after my ride tonight. As luck would have it a co-worker gave me some pecans from his trees so I had some additional weight.
  1. Pecans 14 pounds
  2. Clothes 6 pounds
  3. Back pack 6 pounds
  4. Bike 35 pounds
  5. Burly 26 pounds
Tonight I rode home with 46 pounds of extra weight than I normally do. I also realize that my bike is pretty heavy with the rack and rear bag.
Riding my bike and pulling the Burley loaded with stuff is like riding uphill. This is the trainer that I use to help me strengthen my legs. This is also a way for cyclist to ride with their friends who are not as strong on a bike as they are. By offering to haul the picnic lunch or other stuff a Burley can offer an experienced rider the workout they need at a slower speed with friends.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cycling Totals for Week 4

My total distance for this week is 219 KM. I rode to work four days because Monday was a holiday. My ODO is 930 KM.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bike commute for 20130125

Yesterday my time when I got to the intersection of MLK and Oakridge was 31 KMPH.  This intersection is my first third stoplight on my bike commute.  I consider this the official end of my bike commute that is unobstructed by stopping for cross traffic.  Today I approached the intersection with an average speed of 27.2 KMPH, but today i was riding into a NE head wind of 8 MPH according to TWC.  This is what I consider a training ride as I rode it in my 3-7 gear all the way.  The difference a headwind maks, when it is flat I use headwinds as my hill climbing simulator.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What fuels the Cycle Thunder?

This is my Green Star Twin Gear Juicer.
The green juice in my insulated water bottle.
This juice was collard greens, carrots and apples.
Whey Powder from Whole Foods with no junk.
Bewer's yeast, but not the kind with the nice flakes

This year I purchased a Green Star juice extractor.  there are a lot of juicers on the market in every price bracket, quality and efficiency.  I searched the Internet and read lots of reviews and watched a lot of videos on juicers for about a year before selecting this juicer.  I use to work the juice bar in a organic health food store in Hermosa Beach California in the mid 1970s.  I even bough a used champion juicer just like the one I used at work for home use.  the Champion was huge, but it really juiced veggies, leafy greens and wheat grass.  I loved it.

So when I was looking for my second juicer I knew that I wanted a juicer that could juice green leafy veggies as well as fibrous veggies and fruits.  I also knew that I did not want a juicer that introduced lots of air into the juice as this process makes the juice lose it's nutrients quickly after juicing.

So I am rambling on about the juicer, but you get the point.  I juice in the morning and put it in my bike bottles.  I also take a banana and some Greek yogurt and brewers yeast to work.  When I get to work I pour all of the ingredients into my blender (lost of air) and blend it into a smoothie.  I drink this within 2 hours of arriving at work.  My second bottle of juice goes in the refrigerator near my office.  I drink the second bottle of juice about two hours before I start my bike ride home.  at this point in my work day i need a little kick to get my energy up.


My mixing table at work with my back pack and blender.

I am fortunate to have a place to park my bike and an old residence hall room to keep my clothes in at work.  All I have to do is to brink clean clothes to work once a week in my car so I can just bring food on my bike every day.

I am still exploring what kinds of juice combinations I like and what ingredients will nourish my body so that I can maintain the ability to work and ride everyday and enjoy doing it.  My goal is to have fun at work and on my bike.

Green juice from my juicer with yogurt, whey and
brewers yeast in the tub ready for the blender

The big challenge is getting fresh organic produce to juice.  Eventually my wife and I will get our garden going so there will not be an issue for getting the leafy greens that we want.  for now I just get anything that i can find that looks decent.

Fuel for the Cycle Thunder

Here are some of the foods that I eat just after I ride to work.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My First Double Metric Century

Today I rode my bike 225 KM and I averaged 26.6 KM per hour.  I started my ride at 9 AM and I finished at 7:50 PM.  I finished with more energy than previous 80-100 KM rides.  This is the longest ride that I have ever done on a bike all by myself.  I have never ridden over 167 KM without being in an organized event with rest stops.

I have to give a lot of credit for my transformation into a long distance cyclist to my 'endurance" coach Robert Heynen. Robert is a good coach and teacher.  In my opinion a good coach or teacher does not teach or train you to do one thing, that train you to think and apply the knowledge to many different things.  what Robert was specifically training me for was to run 100 KM on treacherous rock trails in Bandera State Park in Texas.  I did this in about 16 hours and got a nice belt buckle to remind me that any thing is possible.

What I really learned from Robert is how to train and how to fuel my body.  I was able to learn how to break through the barriers of fatigue by understanding how to train incrementally for endurance and then how to fuel the body during this endurance.  Today I wanted to test my training using my bike.  I have been training for an event like this for about a year.  I started out by walking every morning, then I started running, then I started bike commuting every day.  As I was training with my bike commuting I applied incremental increased to the distances and the difficulty of the ride gradually.  I started out riding directly to work which is about 8 miles one way using easy gearing.  I worked up to riding a route of 25 miles one way and I worked to build my legs up to ride the whole distance in my third most hardest gear.

Today was a perfect day to ride, it was sunny and cool.  I live in the football loving bible belt so I knew Sunday with a play-off game with the Atlanta Falcons playing was the perfect day to do a ride down to  the What-A-Burger in Thomasville, GA.  This is the only store in Georgia and I miss eating their hamburgers like I did in Austin, Texas.  It is 112 KM to the What-A-Burger in Thomasville, GA., yeah it sounds crazy to ride this far for a hamburger, but life is a game so I make up the rules and have fun.

I grabbed a bunch of goodies left over from my trail running days and threw them into my bike bag.  I even took two baggies of Spiz.  Spiz is amazing and learning about this stuff was well worth the price of admission to the trail running class that Robert taught.  I put on my leg warmers and arm warmers and took off in the 5.5 degrees Celsius weather.

My house to Thomasville



View Bicycling directions to Whataburger, US Highway 19 South, Thomasville, GA in a larger map


I have been bike commuting in the dark every morning and most evenings so riding in the daylight made me quite giddy.  There was a tail wind from the north east that was between 8-16 KM.  I have always hated riding with a tail wind knowing that when i turn around I will have to ride into the wind, but today I did not care, I rode with abandon and I did not try to slow down my pace.  I was confident that I would have adequate energy to make the round trip no problem.  I hope that you do not read this and assume that I was being arrogant, but I knew that I had trained for this journey and all I had to do was shut up and ride.



I am so privileged to have selected all of the three houses that I have purchased to have them located so that I could be on a country road within about 10 to 20 minutes.  The country roads here in SW Georgia are mostly flat, straight and they sometimes have lots of cracks and bumps. Since this cycling trip was not a race and I was by myself I decided to stop when ever I wanted to take pictures.  I am in awe by the size of the oak trees down here.  I would not have been able to complete this ride in one day if i had stopped to take pictures of all of the oak trees that I saw.  Some of the trees are right next to the road as them may be 300 years old and were there before the road.  Riding down these country back roads is really cool. Even though Georgia does not have the reputation as being bike friendly like other cities that I have lived ion like Austin, TX or Portland, OR the motorist are for the most part sharing the road with cyclist.  they pull way over into the other lane when they can or they slow down and wait to pass when there is opposing traffic.  You can really relax and enjoy the ride.  today I am sure the traffic was really light as there was a big game on TV so I was happy to see the roads almost empty.

I was glad to get to What-A-Burger.  I was hungry and I wanted to eat and get headed home.  I was taking a different route back home, but as it turned out i made some wrong turns and I ended up riding for 8 miles into Camilla on US 19 which is a busy highway.  Fortunately there was not a lot of traffic on it today. I used my phone's GPS to guide me once I got to the city of Thomasville to find the What-A-Burger via back streets, but I did not want to use it all of the time because I knew the batter was not going to last the whole trip.  I will eventually get a Garmin 810 or get a dynamo to charge my phone for my longer cycle journeys.

My house to Thomasville to My house



View Bicycling directions to Whataburger, US Highway 19 South, Thomasville, GA in a larger map

Friday, January 18, 2013

Bring on the Cold

Today it was really cold. This morning when I started to ride to work it was 4 degrees C. In the afternoon it was 13 degrees C. Yesterday evening when I rode home it was 18 degrees C. This wacky range of temperature makes it difficult to figure out what to wear when bike commuting to work
So this morning I decided to wear two of my tube bandanas, one on my ears as usualy and one on the bottom of my face. Having the secon layer on my face helped keep the wind chill from completely numbing my cheeks. With an air temperature of 4.4 degrees Celsius and a bike speed of 28 KM per hour the wind chill adjusted temperature was -.55 degrees Celsius
No this is not really cold for all of the folks that live north of the 45th parallel. I use to live in Oregon and I use to ride in rainy cold weather like this. It was refreshing to be able to have some cold weather down here in Albany, GA. I typically ride in summer biking clothes and layer my core with my Burley rain jacket and long sleeve hunting or athletic shirts that breath. Keeping warm and not letting the sweat build up too much so that you get chilled by the cold air is vital to a successfully bike trip. The thing that I like about bike commuting besides just riding the bike is figuring out what combination of clothes to wear for the days weather. I always check the Weather Channel before I leave the house and view the weather map in motion to see any rain on the radar.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Riding Sylvia's Comfort Bike to work

Today I rode my wife's bike to work.  I took my Serotta Rapid Tour to the bike shop this weekend for a tuneup.  I was going to drive to work today, but Chris Davies gave me the inspiration to get the backup bike and ride anyway.

It was quite an experience riding upright without the benefit of having my feet locked to my pedals.  I decided to just take my short route and enjoy the view.  riding the Trek that was clearly not my size drives home the need for a bike fit.  I also realized that seat position is critical for long rides.  Anyone considering riding more than 20 KM on a comfort bike is really brave.

Anyway I got my bike commute on today.