Monday, July 30, 2012

Riding and watching riding

It's been a great few days in the ol' world of bicycling. On Saturday Mary, Ian and I rode into downtown Grand Rapids to watch a little of the Grand Cycling Classic. We got there in time to see several of our ride team mates who rode in some of the earlier races. We also saw the start of the Pro race. The route was a 1.4 kilometer loop around the VanAndel Arena. The pros did 66 laps.
The pro racers take a corner tight.
When they had 59 laps to go we decided to do a little more riding of our own and rode out to Millenium Park. The city of Grand Rapids has really done a good job the past few years of designating bike lanes and adding multi-use paved trails. We rode back downtown and arrived in time to see the last 5 laps. We were right near the finish line and it was pretty exciting to watch the pros sprint to the finish. After the race ended we did on lap on the track and then headed home. We ended up with 37 miles in total.
Ian and Tom near the finish line of the pro race.
Today I did a quick loop riding past Rockford High School and Luton Park and then coming back along 9 Mile and finishing going down 7 Mile hill. It was just under 14 miles and gives me 9988 miles on my Cannondale. So the next time I ride I will roll over 10,000 miles.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Three ride recap

Saturday I decided to go for a short mountain bike ride. There is a nice trail near our house that follows the Rouge River. The trail connects with the White Pine trail head in Belmont and also passes by some DNR fish ponds. It's a short loop, under 2 miles, but it's a lot of fun to ride. And it's nice that I can just ride to it from the house. I rode a couple of loops in the morning just to break up the road cycling workout regime I've been on lately.

On Sunday there was a scheduled team ride out in the Ada/Lowell/Saranac area. Part of this route follows the Grand River so it is used as a time trial road for a couple of local bike teams. Our plan was to ride a little of that but also climb up out of the river valley and ride some hills. Because I had to work in the afternoon I wasn't able to get the full route in, but did manage almost 19 miles.

Yesterday I took off on the WPT and headed north all the way to 16 Mile Road. I'm been fighting some kind of bug since Sunday so the first part of the ride was more difficult than I was expecting. But once I turned around, and had the advantage of the slight downhill slope going south, I felt a lot better. That is until I got a flat about a mile from home. While I had all the stuff to change the flat I figured that I could walk home in about the same amount of time it would take to change the tire. That way I could change the tire in my garage instead of by the side of the road. So I hoofed home, bike being pushed instead of ridden. I ended up with 23 miles riding and 1 mile walking for yesterdays workout.

Lake Tahoe, site of our JDRF Ride this year. The ride circles the lake and features over 3,100 feet of climbing.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Moving closer to 10,000

I recently downloaded the Map My Ride app for my cell phone. This keeps track of all kinds of detail about my rides; distance, elevation, average speed, graphs comparing speed to elevation, calories burned, speed for each individual mile. In other words, way more information than a cyclist of my ability needs. One really nice feature is that I can link you, the reader, with my ride workout log here. That way if you're really interested in my 18 mile ride today you can get all the info. And since I don't have to give a turn by turn description of the ride I can instead wax poetic about cycling.

My bike
It has been with me for many miles
In 100 degree heat
and driving rainstorms
On mountain tops
and the lowest spot in the western hemisphere
On quick jaunts to the bank
and epic adventures for a worthy cause
My bike

Eh. The real news is that I am only 105 miles from rolling over 10,000 miles on my black and red Cannondale SR500. Should happen before the end of July.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bikes, bikes, everywhere

Saturday was a cycling day. Ian and I started the day by watching stage 13 of the Tour De France. It was an exciting finish along the Mediterranean Sea. After the stage finished we hopped on our own bikes and headed out for a ride. We rode a 22 mile loop that I've ridden many times, but this time we rode in the opposite direction. We started by taking the White Pine Trail through Rockford to 12 Mile Road. We turned west and rode to Algoma Road and then picked our way west and south until we got to the corner of Division and 10 Mile. Going south Division turns into 9 Mile and we took that to Pine Island Road. Then it was a left on Post and a nice downhill after we crossed over 131. We ended up at home after 90 minutes for an average speed of 15 mph on what I consider a moderately hilly course.

Another bike ride going on yesterday was the first JDRF ride of the season in Burlington, Vermont. Many of our West Michigan team mates are there coaching and working in the bike room. We also had a few friends participating in the ride. Congratulations to all the riders and thanks for your contribution to the fight against Type 1 diabetes.

Friday, July 6, 2012

I'm melting...

Temperatures in West Michigan have been pushing 100 degrees all week. As I write this it's 103 outside. I've ridden in Death Valley when it's been that hot and hotter. But there is a huge difference between 10 % humidity (DV) and 60% humidity (WM). However, since I am training to ride in the Lake Tahoe JDRF ride in a little under two months, I need to get out and train. So I went out early in the morning on the White Pine Trail twice this week when the temperature was only about 80.

Do you know who is out on the trail on a holiday morning? The serious athletes. I went out on July 4th and the trail was very busy, but it was all cyclists and runners. No strollers, no roller blades, no soccer moms stopping in the middle of the trail to talk. There were a few people walking their dogs, but they seemed to sense what was happening and they kept Fido to the outside of the trail and on a short leash. Even though there was a lot of trail activity the traffic flow was very smooth. People called out when they were passing. Slower folks moved to the outside of the trail to let the speedier ones by. And this was going from Belmont to Rockford which can be like running a gauntlet on some days.

Today I got up early and headed south on the trail, past the baseball stadium and into Riverside Park. There were very few people out this morning, plus that part of the trail doesn't get the same amount of traffic. Even though I went early I was happy for the shade. When I popped out into the sun things got very warm very quickly. I rode 17 miles today, which gives me 9,800 on my Cannondale. The march to 10,000 continues...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Ramp it up

Three consecutive days of riding my bike, each ride longer than the last. On Friday I took a short ride, only 6 miles round trip, to my chiropractors office for a massage. After an hour long massage I was glad my ride home was so short because I was pretty sure every muscle in my body had been turned into a wet noodle. Saturday morning was a little bit longer ride. I did the northeastern loop, starting with the climb up 7 Mile hill. I ended up riding through Rockford and stopping briefly at the Farmer's Market. I overheard one farmer say that she had lost her entire cherry and peach crop because of the weird weather this spring. I ended up with 17 moderately hilly miles. Today was the big day. 43 miles on a JDRF team ride. We started at Townsend Park and headed north through Harvard and Podunk. We turned south and skirted Wabasis Lake and Gavin Lake. It was an absolutely gorgeous ride. Not a lot of traffic. Pleasant temperatures. Okay, it got hot toward the end of the ride, but I'm used to training for Death Valley. Plus there was almost no wind until the last five miles. There were 10 of us from the team who made the ride and we kept up a pretty good pace. As usual Ian was leading the pack. Mary was busy making cupcakes today for a wedding so she couldn't join us. 10,000 miles by mid-July is in my sights.