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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Last big ride of the season

The Harvest Century was last Sunday. I survived.

The morning started a little slow. I got to Champoeg a little later than I had intended, picked up my packet and layered up to take off in the cool morning. In the half-hour I was poking around the park, the temperature rose quite a bit. I peeled layers off and set off as one of the last group of 100-mile riders out.

The route wound around to the Canby Ferry, where the first rest stop was conveniently located for the long wait at the ferry. About 30 minutes later, I was across the river and off again. All the stops were well stocked with excellent food and drink so I was able to remain nice and full.

Lunch was at mile 45 and was excellent. The stretch of the route near lunch was the route for the 70-mile LIVESTRONG Challenge last weekend. Knowing the route ahead, I rocked it pretty hard, but had no draft.

The wind picked up on Saturday and got worse on Sunday. Battling the headwind brought me down to 10-12 mph for the last 45 miles or so. I wasn't the only one suffering and several people were calling spouses at the last rest stop to let them know we were all running much later than anticipated. I got in after 4:00 p.m., meaning I was on route for over seven hours. I was pretty exhausted but feeling pretty good at the accomplishment. Three big rides in three Sundays, two were full centuries. I'm ready to wind down for the season.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Challenge is over!

The rain came early and stayed late at the Portland LIVESTRONG Challenge. The usual Oregon soaking drizzle greeted us as we got out early this morning. Mark, Greg, Rick and I rode from the hotel to the Nike Campus at about 7:00 a.m. We got separated when I went to check a bag and they started queueing everyone for the start. I got stuck in the 40-mile group and had to hoof it across a grassy hill to join the "100-milers", much to the chagrin of the organizers.

All the 100 riders were told yesterday we would be doing the 70-mile route as the ride up and down Bald Peak would be too dangerous. I happen to agree with the organizers' assessment because there are an awful lot of very inexperienced cyclists who do this event as what it is meant to be: a challenge to improve your own life and the lives of others.

The rest of the crew was way ahead once Lance got his seat adjusted and they let us all take off together. The streets were closed much further than I remember in 2005, which was really nice as I was juicing it to try to catch the rest of the crew. Mark was the first I caught and he was feeling a bit sketched out by the big group and the rain. He wasn't feeling like gassing it in the group so I charged on ahead to try to catch Rick and Greg, not really expecting to. I stopped at the first rest area to make a deposit and remove the leg sails, er, I mean rain pants. I was already wet inside rain gear anyway, so I figured it wouldn't hurt, I caught Mark again just a little bit beyond the rest area.

Mark and I rode together past the next rest area (still under construction) but separated as we hit the rollers on the way to Haag Lake. I stopped into the third rest stop for food and drink. Pirates greeted us complete with a pistol salute. Eddie, a teacher who I work with, pulled in as I was getting the fenders adjusted so I waited for him to fuel up and Mark swung in shortly after. I was going to try to wait for him but started shivering pretty bad so I decided to get pedaling to warm up.

Eddie and I rode together the rest of the way around Haag Lake and down the hill toward rest area 2/5. Eddie told me to take off if I found a group I wanted to join so I did a little while later. It was a fairly big pack of about a dozen riders that stuck together for about 20 miles or so. I broke away from the group a little before the last rest stop when the pace slackened a bit because I really had to make a pit stop.

I rode solo for a while before settling in with a guy who had been leap-frogging with me most of the ride. We rode the last 8 miles or so through town together and up to the finish. Being soaked and cold, I made a beeline to the bike corral.

As I pulled into the bike corral, Lindsay called and wanted to know where I was because she was waiting at the finish. Of course, I was done about 10 or 15 minutes before. She felt bad but secretly it's nice to finish before she thought I would. I picked up my bag and started shedding the wet gear as Linds and Jana came back to meet me.

Once I was changed, we grabbed food and beer and hung out at the post-ride party for a while. The girls started to get tired at about 2:00 p.m. so we said goodbye to Team Knucklehead 2 and took off to go home.

The girls didn't end up going on the 5K because of the rain. It was probably better not to have two soaking wet girls under the age of two for Momma's sanity. They had a good time in the Kid's Zone anyway. It was fun to share the experience with the whole family and I really look forward to next year.

Friday, September 28, 2007

One more day...

Tomorrow, we go to the LIVESTRONG Village to pick up registration. The weather looks questionable but the crew is all set and the bike is ready to rock. I've raised over $1200 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and I'll carry the names of friends and family touched by cancer on my back.

Monday, September 24, 2007

One down... Two to go

I made the decision a few weeks ago I would ride three century (100+ miles) rides in three weekends. I have never done more than one big event ride in any summer. I did do the Seattle-to-Portland (STP) ride in two days in high school but that was quite a while ago. The Salem Bicycle Club hosted the Peach of a Century yesterday. My goal was to finish and not put myself in too much difficulty in the interest of recovering for the big LIVESTRONG Challenge next weekend.

I tried to get out as early as I could and was on the road before 8:00 a.m. The morning was very cold and warmth did not really come until much later in the day. Despite making earsicles, fingersicles and toesicles early, I had a good pace going despite being solo most of the ride. At the second stop, I ate either too much or the wrong food and went sluggish for the next hour or so (miles 55-75). It didn't help that I was heading into the only real hilly stretch of road on the route. Once I got the lead out, I was riding well into the third and final stop. The guys from Portland Velo were nice enough to invite me to join them as they caught me heading back into town. I managed to hang with them to the outskirts of town but pooped out and pulled out of line to cruise in a few minutes back.

I finished in 6:10 total time and 5:41:12 rolling time. I'm pleased with my fitness level, especially now that I am into the day after, when the body really starts complaining. I have a little soreness in the tendons behind my right knee and climbing does not seem to be my strong suit right now. All in all, I think next weekend will go well, especially if I can find a group to hang with a bit more than I did yesterday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kirkland Triathlon Success

My wife made it through her triathlon on Sunday. She was doing quite well until the run. She was missing the bottles of sports drink she left in the freezer. She still was second in her age group. Pretty awesome for a woman who gave birth just three and a half months ago.

The girls and I made it down to the waterfront a little after the transition to the bike and got a chance to cheer Mom as she came in from the ride and transition to the run. Pictures were out of the question as toddler was running all over and infant was screaming. We met my wife's godfather and his wife to watch the finish and I was very happy to have a little help.

Riding has been intentionally limited and not too stressful this week as the first hundred miler of three in three weekends is Sunday. I'll go out for a couple hours tomorrow and put in an hour to an hour and a half Friday and Saturday to make sure the legs are loose. I'm feeling like I'm ready.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Triathlon for the wife this weekend

I have been pushing this weekend to get another hard week of training before I begin to lighten the load next week. I'm in for the Peach of Century hosted by the Salem Bicycle Club. The hope is I will be able to recover adequately for the LIVESTRONG Challenge in Portland the following weekend. I'm still in the air for the Harvest Century for the weekend after that.

I really cranked into a stiff wind on Tuesday at the group ride. No sleep that night due to sick kids meant just a commute yesterday. I toted heavy bags around town from appointment to appointment in the rain. I'm hoping to get the front wheel back for my favorite bike tomorrow and do some hill repeats in Mt. Angel tomorrow.

This weekend, however, I'll not be riding at all. I'm the support crew and kid-watcher for my wife's first triathlon since having our second daughter. Actually, it's the first since college. It's a short tri with a 400M swim, 20K bike and 5K run. She should be fine as long as she stays within herself and avoids the adrenaline surge of lining up with another 1299 athletes.

The girls and I will hang out near the transition to cheer on Momma bright and early Sunday morning. Translation: even less sleep for Dad this weekend. :-)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bike Commute Challenge

Happy Monday! It's been a hectic couple of days at work as I have been working about nonstop. Thankfully, I had a good weekend of riding to separate them.

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance puts together the Bike Commute Challenge every September. I go back to work the last week in August and have now commuted to work by bike six out of eight work days. We've only got four people registered right now, but I hope to add a few more. It's a good way to make sure I get on the bike almost every day.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

58-mile Training Ride

Today I took off on a training ride with the local bike club when the girls all headed off to church. Yesterday was a really windy day so some of the guys were pretty fatigued after the club ride yesterday. I did not particpate in that ride as I was playing with the girls at a new indoor kids playground.

Feeling pretty good but fighting the wind, I spent the first hour trying to hang back a bit to pull for the guys. I'd get comfortably cruising at about 20 mph and they'd just get ripped off my wheel in the crosswind. I felt bad because I knew they were struggling but I went ahead and took off about 25 miles into the ride. At 30 miles in, I passed the fast group going the opposite direction. They usually take a modified version of the group route. I rolled back in to pass a couple of the fastest on my way back home in the car. (I don't like driving to go ride my bike, but I was late due to playing with the girls before I left.)

I'm a bit tired but feeling very good about finishing 58 miles in 3:10. I feel like I'm physically ready to go. I think I'll send in my registration for the Peach of a Century Ride the weekend before the Challenge.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

T-Minus 3 weeks

I'm incredibly late in even starting this blog. The LIVESTRONG Challenge Portland is three short weeks away. I'm riding the 100-mile course and I expect it will push me to the limit like it did in 2005.

I'm feeling physically ready. I rode quite a few big mileage rides this summer, many more than previous summers. I am spending fewer days on the bike with the little girls around than I did in the past. Fatherhood brings adjustments to life, whether you want them or not.

Last Saturday, I rode an 86-mile club ride with a small group in 4.5 hours, doing a fair amount of pulling, which means I'm getting faster. I rode a "recovery" ride the next day with the local racers, rocketing up to sustained efforts in the 28-30 mph range. I've never been able to cling to someone's wheel at 25 mph on the flat, let alone 28-30 mph on small rollers. I was feeling pretty good about being able to hang on but I know I can improve upon that for next year.

The girls are all set for the 5K event at the Challenge with a friend and my folks. It's a family affair in support of my aunt who fought ovarian cancer last winter and is officially cancer-free as of June.

Cancer is such an invasive disease and such an indescriminate killer. We support the Lance Armstrong Foundation and its mission to make cancer a national priority. Please join me and my family in supporting the Lance Armstrong Foundation through the LIVESTRONG Challenge Portland.