Sunday, May 20, 2012


The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Yup, that about says it.

My plans for May were simply to pound out some mile running since I would be finished with the bike race I'd trained for.  My body had different ideas.  I got sick, started getting weird problems like an infection in my ear lobe where I used to have it pierced.  It all pointed to one logical conclusion...I needed some down time. 

Reading some accounts of various people who didn't listen to their bodies and suffered monumental complications because of it, I decided to just take the month of May and enjoy life.  I did participate in a bike race last weekend, and did have a vigorous hike the weekend before that, but I'm taking it easy.  I'm sleeping in, mostly, eating loosely, and just not worrying about stuff. 

This week I managed about 14 miles of running, but two of those runs were excellent.  The first was on the treadmill (it was almost 100 degrees outside) where I just kept increasing the speed to get the workout finished.  I ended up running the last mile with a little incline in just over 6 minutes.  The second run was with the running club where we ran four miles with splits of 7:57, 8:00, 7:46 and 7:15.

And riding went well, too, though again, with low volume.  I had a strong ride on Monday and another Wednesday before joining about 90 other participants in the Ride of Silence. It was quite a strange experience riding along very slowly for about 6 miles in total silence with police escort.  The loudest thing I heard was my hub whirling as I coasted.

In the picture, taken from the local newspaper, you can see me in the white jersey, behind the person in the recumbent bike.

I've been watching the Tour of California and it's been very inspiring.  So, today I decided to get up early and hit the road on my bike before dawn.  I often have high aspirations in the afternoon that seem to be misplaced sometime during the night.  Last night was no different.

My uncle from Minnesota was visiting and a potluck was hosted at my grandmother's house.  While there, my cousins and sister busted out this very fancy portable espresso machine, so I had some.  The end result was that at 11:30 at night I laid in bed jittery.  The morning came quickly and I almost postponed my ride.  But with a projected 104 temperature, I decided to just get it over with.

My first experience riding predawn was great.  It was neat eating breakfast on the road, coasting hands-free in the cool desert morning air.

Today's ride was 50 miles of hills, with a few very difficult, but short climbs.  All told, the route had me climbing 2850 feet.  I saw one other cyclist and just a handful of vehicles. 

I spooked some javelina and listened to a podcast on "fastbacking."  How cool would it be to hike the Pacific Trail?  Dang ...

Because of the race last weekend, I figured that hitting some hard hills at the tail end of my rides would be a wise course to promote some strength and improvement on the bike.  So I ended today's ride with a jaunt to Pena Blanca Lake.  It's one of my favorite routes because it's scenic, remote, minimal traffic and challenging. 

The picture to the right is from a picnic area that overlooks the lake.  I'm taking a picture in the opposite direction where you can see the road as it slips between a few hills.  Eventually, the road winds up those hills.

On today's ride, I hit just over 56 mph on the hill that in the picture below.  Unfortunately you can't get a sense of the grade from the photograph.  But trust me, it's steep, lots of fun on the way down, lots of pain on the way up.

Another thing that has happened this week is that I suddenly feel fantastically comfortable on my bike.  I've owned it since early January and it's been a long time tweaking this and that, trying to get it dialed in perfectly.  But now, I'm confident to say, it's dead-on.  When I climb on the saddle and clip in, it all feels fantastic.
The bike is a 2010 Lapierre Sensium 400.  The bike comes nicely equipped with SRAM Force components, including brakes.  The bike is carbon fiber, but the handlebars and seat post were not.  I found a steal on some Easton EC90 handlebars that were special ordered and never picked up at a bike shop, and bought a gently used EC90 seatpost on eBay.  The wheels are Fulcrum race 5's, which are sufficient, but probably the next upgrade.
And one thing that really made me smile about the bike is pictured below:
That said, I'm going to enjoy my last week of easy workouts before getting serious in June and July.

Thanks for reading and I hope you and yours are happy and healthy and well.


  1. Sounds like you had a great week. Our bodies know what they need, most of the time I try to listen and do what it tells me to! The pictures are great, thanks for sharing!