Saturday, November 30, 2013

Morgan/Dickey/Doverel/Herod/Sasser 80 miles

Today I rode 80 miles with 50 miles of headwinds. My rule of thumb is that if there are winds blowing when I choose a route I always choose riding into the headwinds on the first part of the route.  Today's route was chosen my the Pecan City Pedlaers (PCP)  ride coordinator and we rode with the tail wind first.

Usually on a PCP club ride I try to keep with the group as long as I can.  During this ride I stayed with the group all the way to Morgan and a few miles past the small town.  At about mile 32 as we turned into the wind is where I decided that if I was going to ride another 50 miles that I would have to slow down and back off of the 19-21 MPH pace and do my own thing.

I am pleased with my progress as a rider this past year.  I have been using the club rides as a means of increasing my cycling abilities so that I can ride faster and longer.  I was glad that today I could stay with the group for 30 miles and I did not feel stressed out or tired while riding.  Today the group was not riding as fast as they usually do during the warmer months and this was OK with me as I could keep up with the speedsters.

Riding into the wind on a day that was not warm on roads that were less than smooth did challenge me.  Still I enjoyed the fact that there was almost no traffic on these back county roads and this is what I really like about cycling in SW Georgia.  I saw men harvesting cotton and cattle that already had their cute thick winter hides.  Even though the leaves are almost all gone from all trees except the pine trees there were still large lily pads in some of the ponds That were in the ponds near the road.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Endless possibilities for a bike commuter

This morning I went through a typical conversation with me and myself.  The idea of being able to create your possible future is both daunting and exciting at times.  Most of the time I am able to expand my world to what is possible.

When I went to bed on Thursday, I was thinking "one more day of riding my bike to work, yuck".  The alarm that I set for 5 AM went off Friday morning and I got up and turned it off.  My first thoughts were to go back to bed and call in to work and take a sick day.  My next thought was to make a cup of coffee and sit in front of my computer and read Google+ stuff and watch Tech news on YouTube.  It was at that point that I knew that the only thing to do was to immediately put my bicycle clothes on and get on my bike and ride to work.

My friends and co-workers are amazed when they find out that I ride my bike to work several days a week.  Their minds are blown when I say that I ride 12, 25 or sometimes 50 miles one way on my way to work.  What they do not know is the hardest part of riding my bike to work is getting out of the house and on my bike.  Once I am on my bike it is easy to ride to work.  Once I get off work it is easy to ride home because I want to go home so I have to ride my bike.

So this morning I started riding at 5:15 AM about one hour earlier than usual.  I decided that I would take a different route to work that I have not taken for a long time.  I rode down Gillionville Road into town and towards my favorite home cooking eatery, Pearly's.  I wanted to have breakfast on my way to work.  I rode slow and was happy that it was not cold, rainy or hilly. Life was good and it was Friday

It was a different story on my way home.  Since I got to work an hour early I decided to leave work at 4 PM and ride in daylight for a change.  I had not taken a ride on my favorite route, Mud Creek Road in a while so I set my sights on do a longer ride than usual. As I started riding away from the campus I was glad to find that the wind was not blowing like it had for the past two days.  I like riding in headwinds, but not every day.  This Friday evening it was a TGIF ride home in the making.

I owe a lot of my stamina on my bike to the fact that I ride around on my big 52 tooth chain ring.  When I get a day with dead air and I  am in a good mood I can ride with wild abandon. I like pushing myself once in a while and Friday night I let the horses out of the barn.  I wanted to see how fast I could ride for 30 miles.  I set a goal of riding at least 18 MPH  When I looked at my stats my pace was 18.8 MPH.  I split the ride home into two segments, one was 30 miles and then I did about 2 miles to cool down.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Showerless bike commuting

900 wipes from Sam's Club for about $17
Some of my hard core bike commuting friends in the Bike Commuter Cabal have converted me to shower-less bike commuting.  I have always had a rule that I could not bike commute unless I had a place to take a shower.  I was recently told by the facilities management team where I work that they no longer wanted to maintain the shower in the building where I store and change clothes.  This building is an old residence hall and is slated for demolition. For the past three days I have taken some advice and instead of showering after my ride to work I am using baby wipes to get the perspiration off of my skin.
Small pouches that can be re-sealed

So far things are working out OK.  I have made some changes in my bike route to work so I am not adding to the perspiration issue.  I am not taking my long 25 to 50 mile morning commutes, but I have chosen to take my 12 mile rout to work in the mornings.  It is also late fall so the temperatures are colder so this is giving me a chance to get use to this new routine when the weather is not sweltering.

I am glad that I can still bike commute using this new system.  One of the main reasons that I choose to bike commute is to keep one less car on the road.  By default my bike commute keeps me fit and mentally sane when I arrive at work and home, but I really want to keep as many motor vehicles off the road when possible.

Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal
I also want to recommend a deodorant product that my skin doctor turned me on to.  Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal is all natural and does not contain any aluminum chlorohydrates. My wife suggested that I visit a dermatologist after my skin started to break out from using another deodorant product.  Sometimes I have to give up on my cave man mentality and accept to the fact that organic stuff sometimes works.  Don't get me wrong, I am an advocate of organic foods and products, but sometimes when I use them in harsh environments like on my bike or when it comes to dealing with sweat and dirt after a ride I have to really be convinced that the products will work.  This product works. By the way the bottle labeled hand soap is not hand soap, it is a recycled bottle that actually contains Dr. Bonner's soap.  I have used Dr. Bonner's soap for a long time and it really works.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ride in the Rain

Today it was 72 degrees at 6 AM as I prepared to ride to work.  I knew that the Weather channel was forecasting thunder showers in the area about 9 AM so I knew that I should expect some rain.  I started out without taking a jacket but I had my arm warmers in my pocket.

This was my maiden voyage on my new Cobb seat.  I have been riding a used Specialized seat since 1999 so it was time for a replacement.  I purchased the seat from Higher Ground bike shop right after my 100 mile ride last weekend.  I had been searching for a seat for a few months and I finally decided to go with a seat that I could purchase with a 30 return policy.  I am sure that this seat will work out, but I always want to have options.

I took my short route to work which is about 12 miles. When I was 4 miles from my house it started raining really hard.  There was only a slight wind, but it was warm and as I got wetter and wetter it finally felt refreshing to get completely soaked while riding my bike.  I really like riding down very low traffic streets and roads where I can enjoy the variety of outdoor sensations sights and smells on my bike commute.  today was a bonus as it was wet and wonderful.
On my way home I took my normal 25 mile route and it got completely dark at 6 PM after riding for 30
minutes.  There I was riding on a new Cobb seat watching the mist and fog form on the road and in the fields as I rode home.  I always like it when the temperature and dew point get whack after a rain when it is still warm and humid and the temperature starts to drop really fast.  When I ride in the mist sometimes I spook my self when I see the reflection of my two rear flashers light up the fog when I slightly turn my head to see what is behind me.

All in all it was a great ride today.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

How do I fuel on a 100 mile ride.


I have been talking a lot about Spiz.  At the rest stop  at mile 90 during the 2013 Spaghetti 100 where we took the photo I promised to post a link to the Spiz web site.  I learned about Spiz when I was doing ultra trail runs in Texas.  I learned that when you are doing an event that last over 4 hours you need to eat real food and not snacks or energy bars.  Running and cycling burn a tremendous amount of calories when you are doing ultra events. Read about Chet Blanton's experience with Spiz.

Even if the estimated calories that my Garmin 810 recorded during the ride are not correct knowing that I burned about 7,280 calories on a ride makes me want to make sure that I have enough fuel to ride 100 miles.  On a 70+ mile ride I drink Spiz.   On the Spaghetti 100 I mixed three scoops of Spiz in a bottle and kept it in a pocket without water.  At the mile 48 rest stop I put water in it.  At mile 60 I drank it all. That was about 1,500 calories in a liquid form that I consumed without stopping (one hand on my handle bars, I tried to ride with no hands, but no go).

I like chocolate, but the Spiz chocolate is too intense for me to drink when I need it.  I bought the vanilla, but it was too bland for me.  What I do is mix the vanilla and chocolate and this makes a drink that I like.  Do not let the smell of Spiz fool you.  If you open the jar and smell it it smells gross.  When you mix it with water it has a 5 hour shelf life so make sure that when you add water to it you are going to consume it soon.  I have found that when I am on a long bike ride and my body needs fuel that Spiz really taste good and I can drink it fast.


I hydrate with Hammer's Heed. Sucrose and corn syrup that are the main ingredients in most sports drinks and powders can prevent your stomach from absorbing the fluids that you are drinking.  I have personally witnessed runners who were drinking lots of Gatorade during a 12 hour trail run and they had to stop running due to dehydration and had to have paramedics hydrate them intravenously on the way to the hospital.  Hammer's Heed contains no sucrose or corn syrup and to prove it I sometimes forget to rinse my bike bottles after a ride and the next day there is no fermentation in the liquids left in the bottle. Hammer Heed is so good for you that it has a Kosher rating.

Succeed S!Caps

Succeed S!Caps is another trail running discovery.  When I took my helmet off after a 100 mike ride I can see the white residue of the salt that is left from my sweat.  I had a running buddy tell me about salt supplements.  Eating pickles and potato chips at rest stops is not enough to replace lost sodium during a long ride.  When I was trail running I use to use my wedding ring as an indication of when I need to take S!Caps.  If my finger had swollen up so that my ring was tight I would start taking S!Caps.  Now that I am cycling regularly I can not use the ring as an indicator because I have lost so much weight that my finger does not swell up up that much on a bike.  I always start my long bike rides of 70 miles or more with one capsule and then take one or two each hour of the ride depending on how hot it is.  Replacing lost sodium is important during a long ride on a bike when you are out in the sun and wind.


I hope that these personal experiences with these products helps you start to consider how to fuel your body at you next event.  We are all unique bio-mechanical machines so you will have to figure out what will work for your system.  When you know your are conditioned and you are mentally and physically prepared for an event do not forget about fuel.  When you hit the wall remember you need a sledge hammer to go through it, fueling your body is the tool that will help you get through any wall.