Friday, June 28, 2013

My new Garmin Edge 810

Garmin 810 is working. I went almost a year since my Garmin 305 died last July. Tried several Android applications for tracking my distance but reached the conclusion that a dedicated device was best. I want to use my phone for emergence calls on long rides. I also wanted to read the display at night or in bright sunlight and my phone display was not ideal for those conditions. I like the fact that I can see all data even the time without putting on my glasses.

I loaded some free maps from the free Garmin map web site. Today I rode on the Leary Loop course that I downloaded to the Edge so I could test the turn by turn feature.  I like it a lot.  whenever I come to a turn the Edge chips a few times and the screen displays 500 feet before the turn and counts down to zero for the turn.  the display shows the map of where you are and which way to turn.  I now feel that I can ride a route that I am not familiar with and not get lost or waste time looking at my phone to figure out where I am.

I am looking forward to riding down to Florida again with a route in the Edge.  On my last trip Google maps steered me onto two dirt roads.  I rode my bike down two miles of one road just to get to a really busy highway to get to Tallahassee   now I will go to cycling route sites like Map My ride and get a route that has been verified by a cyclist to be acceptable for a bike.

Always be trainin'

This blog post is dedicated to my son +Zak Wormley .  I want him to know how much I appreciate his hard work at being the best that he can be. I also want to give some hints to all of the fathers who are playing with their kids and have them consider playing their best so that their kids can be the best.
When Zak was about tall enough to where his head was at my waist I purchased a Little Tikes basket ball hoop. I put this out in the cul-de-sac in front of our house in Portland Oregon. He had expressed a desire to learn how to play basketball.  I may have had an influence on his choice of sports as I played basketball in high school and occasionally played pick up games when ever I could.  Space Jam was his favorite movie and we watched NBA games when ever we could. I made a conscious decision that I would always challenge Zak when we played basketball.

One of the things that I did was to play center and stand in front of the basket and block his shot.  Sometimes I would do this over and over until he would run in the house mad that I would not let the ball go to the hoop.  I would wait outside until he would come back to play and I told him that there would always be some big guy standing in the way to block his shot.  What he had to figure out was how to get around the big guy and get the ball in the bucket.

Another example of my basketball teaching was rebounding.  I always tried to never let Zak get a rebound. Finally when he was really frustrated I told him, you are closer to the ground than I am.  I am the big guy and I am slow.  Wait until I get the rebound and when I try to dribble then you can be quick and steal the ball.

I have many memories of playing basketball with Zak.  In recent years when he would visit me in Georgia we would play games to 100.  I found that challenging, but I was proud that he had developed into a fine athlete.  Recently when I visited him for his high school graduation we played a game.  Due to my extreme cycling I had no basketball skills to match playing my son.  I did play however and my dream had come true because now I was on the other end of having my shot blocked.  I could not get a rebound.  Zak even dunked on me.  I was proud and embarrassed that I could not play a respectable game.

I thought about my experiences with Zak and playing basketball as I was riding my 50 mile loop to work this week.  About two years ago I was trying to keep up with a group of cyclist in the Pecan City Pedalers (PCP)   I had not been riding for about 5 years and decided to start back cycling on a regular basis.  I knew that I was not up to speed to be riding with these cyclist, but I showed up for a few rides anyway because I wanted to measure my abilities against where I wanted to be in a few months.  During the spring of 2011 I nick named myself Mr. Drop because I could only keep up with these riders during their warm up pace for about 3 miles.  As soon as the pace got to 18 MPH I could not sustain the pace and I would get dropped.  I would continue to ride the route by myself but at a much slower pace.

This year I am riding a lot more than in 2011.  For the last three months I have average over 1,000 miles a month.  I have been riding with the PCP group on a regular basis on the Thursday evening ride which is supposed to be a class B ride. By definition by some bike clubs for flat terrain is 15-21 MPH which I fall squarely into this category. Usually there is a mixed group of riders that show up for the ride and the fast riders take off in a group and the slower riders take of in a group.  Now when I say slow riders this is a group that keeps me riding as fast as I can to keep pace at 18-22 MPH, but it is good training.

Now for the meat of this blog post and the reason for the title and the dedication to my son Zak. 
This week I wanted to ride on Thursday evening with the PCP.  My brain told me that I needed to cut back on my mileage so that I would be strong enough to ride as fast as I could for 20 to 32 miles for the evening ride.  I did not listen and kept on riding my 60-80 miles per day this week.  When I showed up at the coffee shop on  Thursday evening for the ride there were only the really fast riders in the parking lot.  I was the only person with a steel bike.  I was wondering how I would fare with the ride and if I would have to call myself Mr. Drop again.

Anyway we started out at a brisk pace and I was doing my best to focus on riding in a pace line.  I had my new Garmin Edge 810 on my bike and it was the first time that I had used it on a PCP ride.  When I glanced down at it I was shocked to see that we were already riding at 20 MPH after just riding a few miles.  It was then that I started to get worried, could I keep this pace?  I decided to stop worrying about the pace and focus on spinning and keeping the my front tire a basketball length behind the bike in front of me.  I told myself to shut up and ride.

We rode at this pace and a little faster for about 10 miles and then when we got on Leary Road the pace got really fast (at least for me) and I started to drop back at 24 MPH.  There was no way I was going to keep up and the wind was blowing into my face so I started to slow down to a pace that I could ride and started to think about being Mr. Drop again.  I rode like this for a few minutes and then another cyclist , +Allan Braswell came up on my left to pass me and he said with a chuckle, Let's catch those suckers.  As Alan and another cyclist in tow pulled in front of me I decided that I would put some effort into keeping pace with them.  By now the pack was about on quarter of a mile in front of us and I knew there was no way that we were going to catch them, but we were going to try.

So the defining moment of always be trainin' is when your dad is blocking your shot, keep trying, when you are getting smoked on the road while cycling, keep trying.  There are always folks around you that will encourage you to do your best, you just have to be aware to listen for their coaching.

Monday, June 17, 2013

New tires at 4200 miles for the year

I put new tires on my bike.  This set replaces the set that I put on in January 2013. I have about 4,200 miles on the old tires. I removed Gator Skins and replaced them with Gator Hardshell.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Century Bike Commute

Today I accomplished a goal that I have not achieved in Georgia.  I rode 103 miles today commuting to and from work.  I rode 48 miles in the morning and 54 miles in the evening.  I use to do this type of long commutes when I lived in Portland.  I have in my memory that I use to have a 53 mile commute one way.  The route was up the west hills to Dixie Mountain.  Dixie mountain road went from 1,600 feet above sea level to 26 feet above sea level at the Columbia River.

Anyway I wanted to get a 50 mile route one way so I could ride it and get 100 miles on a bike commute.  Once I get the logistics down of where to ride and where to refill my water bottles I will do this route more often.

Morning Commute

Evening Commute

 The day was cool and the rain was gone for my evening commute. I rode the whole ride in darkness or overcast skies. It was a real treat to be riding and not be really hot. There are some country stores along the route so I have a places to stop and get ice and Gator Aide to keep hydrated.

Not sure if I am going to do this tomorrow.  I will have to see how long it will take to clean my chain in the morning. I like to get to work at about 7:30 AM so if I do not get my bike chain cleaned and lubed by 4 AM I am doing a shore 32 mile commute.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Endorphin Cycle Junkie

< sarcasm warning>
 The following posting is full of tongue and cheek commentary about cycling and what goes on in my brain.  Humor is the main point of this blog post, but as with any of my public writings there is a bit of reality in my blog posts.  If you are easily offended or want to argue about scientific facts on human biology and psychology do not read this blog post
</ sarcasm warning> 
I am a child of the sixties born at the end of the baby boom.  I was (and still am in my mind) an African American hippie that dropped out of college and joined a religious cult and moved to the mountains during the early seventies.  I have been exposed to many addictive substances in my life from over the air TV to Green Giant frozen creamed corn in a bag and I have reached the ripe age of an early sexagenarian without ever having to battle any serious physical addition except one.  The only thing that I have struggled with all of my live is my obsession with endorphins.

There are only two activities that give me the endorphins that are strong enough to satisfy my mood swings, cycling and trail running.  Activities like vacuuming and mopping the floors in my house do not produce any endorphins.  Even things that I am good at and love dearly like creating artwork do not produce endorphins the way that cycling does.  Most mornings before I get on my bike to ride the 25-45 mile ride to work I am so discouraged I struggle to put on my cycling gear.   After I get on my bike and start to ride the rush of anticipation that the endorphins are going to kick in make me so excited to be outside in the dark morning staring at a fog line with the help of my bike light.

I am doing everything that I can think of to ensure that I get a constant supply of endorphins.  I first started playing a game that I invented when I lived in Portland, ride more miles to work than you drive in your truck. So far I am ahead on the bike in miles.  Just to ensure that I am riding enough miles I have forsaken riding directly to work on my bike.  My direct commute to work is anywhere between 8 and 15 miles.  I take the long loop to work on my bike which is 25 to 35 miles.  My attitude to riding a bike is that if it takes me 15 minutes to put on your bike gear and get out the door I had better ride at least 90 minutes.

The next thing that I did was start riding with the local bike club.  Feeding the excuse to get our and ride a bike as fast as I can pedal is why I joined the Pecan City Pedalers Bicycle Club (PCP).  The folks in PCP are a lively bunch and they encouraged me to ride with them and soon I was riding faster in the group than I ever expected.  The PCP rides super charge my rush of endorphins because cycling with a 20 to 30 cyclist down a country road is the ultimate rush.   Sometimes when I am on a group ride I pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming.

The next thing that I did was to sign up for some bicycling challenges like riding 10,000 miles in one year and participating in the National Bike Challenge.  Signing up for these events ensue that I am monitoring other cyclist that are as fanatical about how many miles that they are riding as I am.  Sometimes I think about my job as just an excuse to ride my bike.  I need to work and get money for food.  I have to pay a mortgage on my home so the job gives me an excuse to get out of the house and ride to work.  Once at work I have an excuse to ride home to eat and sleep so I can have energy to ride to work the next day.  I can summarize my life as a cycling sandwich, work and home are the bread and cycling is in the middle like peanut butter.

One day on my way to work I imagined that I may be stuck in a SyFy movie where somehow I was transported into this little town in SW Georgia where all of the cool cyclist wind up when the alien space ships are done with them.  I imagined this world having perfectly flat roads and just the right amount of headwinds to make you pedal harder to get more endorphins.  i never seem to get out of Georgia so I think that the aliens that put me here are not allowing me to go past the limits of this reality.  Maybe the aliens wipe my brain every evening because when I wake up and ride down Mud Creek road it seems like I am riding it for the first time everyday.

Bottom line is that I love riding my bike.  hope to see you out on the road soon.