It has been some time since I’ve read (and re-read) Thoreau’s classic ‘Walden‘. I stumbled upon this lovely development near my parents place in Hickley, Ohio during our trip to the Cleveland area for the holiday weekend. As I crested the hill on my bike I felt like I was sucker punched. I’m inspired to revisit my well worn copy – but I don’t think this is what Mr. Thoreau had in mind when he wrote about his life in the woods.
Enjoyed a great 45 mile ride this afternoon – 50% of which was on some lovely dirt roads traversing Essex and Westford. I rode the IF with 28mm tires. I’ve found a sweet spot with the Continental GP 4 Season tires for riding on pavement – I’ll need to experiment more when riding on the dirt.
I came across these fellows somehwere in Essex who were busily working on what looked like their latest project. I’m not sure if OSHA would approve – but it looks like they ran the forks under the roof and picked the car up to work on its underside. They didn’t notice me stopping to take the pic – each busy at his own task – apparent that they may have done this before. Just off the road out front were 4 VWs – 3 Jettas and 1 Golf. Parked near the front door were 2 crotch rockets.
I joined the GMBC Touring group this past Sunday for the the Crown Point Caper. I chose the 40 mile option (and added some bonus miles for a navigational mistake). I rode to the start from Shelburne, so I had about 68 miles total for the day. I’d guess there were between 20 and 30 cyclists out for the ride.
The ride left from Vergennes and headed over the Crown Point Bridge to NY. A quick break at the campground and I headed back north, through some lovely countryside. The route was primarily flat – but the headwind on the way home wore me down – especially with the extra miles back to my starting point.
I’ve started to work with a coach to bring some focus to my riding and clarity to my nutrition. For the better part of 4 years I’ve seen gains in my personal fitness primarily from re-discovering cycling. I’ve seen weight loss, strength and speed gains, and my comfort level on the bike go up. I feel stagnated from this winter and I know that as Kent Peterson says “I am not a nutritional role model”.
Our arrangement right now is pretty simple – he’s drawn up a 12 week plan to build and re-focus my base and will be pointing me in the right direction with on and off bike nutritional choices. After the 12 weeks I’ll evaluate where I’m at and will probably move into a more formal arrangement to focus on specific events for the 2008 season. After 2 weeks of following ‘the plan’ I can see that I’ve been riding too hard, too often. This is probably one of the biggest problems of self trained athletes – going too hard all the time and not letting the body rest and recover. When given proper care the body gets stronger because of its ability to heal and rebuild itself after hard efforts. If your training consists of pushing yourself to the limit day in and day out, you never give your body a chance to recover from these efforts and work its magic – its during this recovery time when the real ‘training’ happens – adaptation to hard work is what makes us stronger and faster.
The plan appears ‘easy’ on the surface – the first few weeks will see lots of Z1 and Z2 workouts with a sampling of some short intervals. I was warned that I’ll have quite a few rides in the first 3-4 weeks where I’ll question the sanity of the program, as I’m not used to “taking in the scenery”. I’ve been finding it difficult to ‘go slow’ and spin! I’m working with HR zones and limits – so for any given ride I have HR caps. The ‘easy’ days aren’t all that easy – especially when my body wants to ride at a steady state that it has gotten used to over the past few years. It seems that I always end up riding at a similar speed – moving above and below this speed takes work. As we progress the program gets rough – the mileage adds up quickly and I’ll have back to back long days in the saddle (as my primary events are Brevets and centuries) and plenty of climbing intervals.
Today I had an easy recovery spin scheduled, so I ran errands while getting my ride in. I’m enjoying my new Carradice SQR Tour bag for both my long rides and for around town. The bag comes on and off the bike easily – but is very secure while riding. It is large though – and I do get odd looks from the roadies speeding to and fro… I’m not sure what people make of a bike with a gigantic seatbag, dual headlights, taillights, and fenders. With some planning I can carry enough for a long day (maybe two) on the bike, or leave room for a run to the library, post office, bank, hardware store, and bike shop. In combination with my handlebar bag the Carradice might be perfect for a light weekend tour – a theory I hope to test later this summer.
I smelled summer on my evening ride. Highs in the 70s during the day and that sweet smell of summer as evening cooled the air. We’ve a long way to go before summer is in full swing – but today we got a taste. I rode out to Shelburne and back on an easy ride exploring some backroads by the bay and returned after dark.
I rode a wonderful century on Sunday. It was a picture perfect Vermont spring day. I travelled from Burlington through Richmond, Huntington, Bristol, Addison, Vergennes, Charlotte, Shelburne and returned to Burlingon covering 102 miles. The route I chose flanked Camel’s Hump, wandered over ‘Baby Gap’, and to the shore of Lake Champlain. I passed mountains, meadows, orchards and a covered bridge. 7:20 riding time, 7:50 total time with 4700 feet of climbing and an ugly crosswind and headwind for the last 40+ miles.