Wednesday, July 9, 2014

big gears

When I made plans to ride on Friday I had no idea that it would be the 4th of July.  Here I was thinking that Sean and I would have the trails to ourselves out at Lake Norman.  It wasn't the case of course.  The parking lot was bustling, and it is true I saw more riders on the trail that I normally do - but they were by no means crowded.

Both Sean and I haven't been hitting the bike too hard lately, so we were out for a fun ride and not a hammerfest.  And man were the trails fun.  I was actually worried that things would be closed with the downpour the night before, but the rain left the trails in perfect conditions (save for a few damp spots).  Hitting the trails at a solid talking pace was pretty enjoyable.  But, my gearing started to wear on me.

I left the 18 on the Glow Worm because I usually ride that out there and it's good.  Sure some of the climbs can be a bit tough on it, but last time out I cleared everything.  This time... not so much.  I had thought about switching to a 20 since my ride time has been low that past month, but laziness allowed me to suffer with the 18.  I will admit that I had to hike two short sections where the pitch was steep and the tread was loose.  My legs were feeling it and my brain wasn't in it, which allowed me to give up before really pushing it.  Whatever, it was a fun ride.

I still managed 2 PRs out of the ride, so I suppose that is good.  That, my friends, is the point (in my opinion) of Strava - challenging yourself.  Seeing how you (hopefully) progress and grow stronger.  Beating your own performance and pushing yourself to climb the rankings.  Looking at ride data is pretty neat and can make you just want to get back out there.  So, for all the smack people talk about strava - I like it!

Special Announcement

I will be taking a break from the blog for a bit.  Just a heads up.  I will be back, just not certain as to an exact timeline on that.  Didn't want you to be caught off guard by the sudden disappearance; wouldn't want you to worry that I got hit by a car or something.  

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Red Booty

With no work on Thursday it was determined, I HAD to ride.  Actually, I already talked about this on Thursday.  D-Wayne made fun of me because  I talked about the temperature and he now lives in a 100 degree year round desert landscape, so he gave me shit.  It's not so much the temperature (I mean, of course at some point it becomes the temperature) but it's the humidity that makes things suck.  But no, Thursday wasn't sooooo bad.

What was bad was the fact that I hit red lights every lap on the Booty Loop... hence I quit that stuff after three laps.  The Booty Loop is convenient.  It's close, it's well known among riders and drivers so it's relatively safe for being right here in the middle of Charlotte (even though people still get hit by cars on the loop), so it's an easy pick when I'm not feeling super motivated.  The down side is that it's short.  And I get bored quickly.  Just like the shorter trails around here, I can't hang for too long.  I like variety on my rides - that's part of the reason why I ride (dirt and road and gravel).  I like to travel, to see new things, to go far distances... I'm not a NASCAR kinda guy that if good with hot laps...  Oh, and for those that are familiar with the loop, Hopedale SUCKS!  Everytime, it just sucks.  It's this incline that is just so deceptive and such a energy suck, it just blows.

Overall, it wasn't such a bad little ride.  I got out on Georgia (still not effectively using gears) managed some PRs and Strava tells me I suffered a bunch.  That's good.  (My Strava data may or not be visible below - it should be, and it's holding space here, but I can't see it, maybe you can?)

Plus, I got to see Freedom Park pretty much completely empty.  Typically when I am passing through there I am navigating families and dogs so I don't really take the time to look around.  It's a shame, because that place was beautiful on Thursday.

Monday, July 7, 2014


I did get to ride over the holiday weekend.  Twice, almost three times!  Not bad.  Three would have been great - but I was busy doing other things.

I tell you what, I'm EXHAUSTED after the weekend I had.  4th of July means cookouts, beers, music, fireworks, and all around good times, right?  Right.  This weekend we went to a shindig where there was a band, they were pretty good.  While they were playing a few of us got to talking and figured out that a couple of us knew some of the same stuff, so after they were through they were gracious enough to let us get up and jam out.  It's been way too long since I've played, I totally shredded my fingers.

It's hard to tell from the picture but my fingers tips are totally red raw.  Here is a picture from this morning.


Ok, so that isn't true.

BUT, this weekend was so much fun I totally burnt out my thumb by giving way too many "thumbs up!"

Alright... my weekend was fun, but my hands weren't destroyed in any fun way.  My fingers are raw from handling rocks all weekend.  I drained our pond, cleaned rocks, and got them all organized back in there in an effective and aesthetically pleasing manner.  I did such an efficient job that there are stones left over (I'm thinking that's a good thing...).  The pump is back working again - I'm thinking that something was obstructing the water flow causing the pump to over heat and trip the circuit.  Seems ok now, which is great!  Now I've got to work on the landscaping around the pond and things should be shaping up nicely.

I'll get to talking about my biking adventures tomorrow.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

It starts today

So I just woke up.  Now that you all hate me, let me continue.

20-30% chance rain, 82 degrees and quickly climbing, and I just woke up.... BUT I'm not going to take the easy way out.  I've got to get my legs/lungs back and that's not going to happen off the bike.  So no more excuses, heat/fatigue be damned, I'm getting out for at least a quick spin.  No more putting off until tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow.  I'm meeting my good buddy Sean up at Lake Norman for a ride.  It's been a long time since I've ridden with him because he's been off the bike for a long ass time due to hip injury and subsequent surgery.  I totally forgot that tomorrow was actually the 4th so I thought we'd have the place to ourselves... doesn't really matter, there are so many trails out there that no matter how packed the lot is you never see a ton of people out on the trails.  Let's just hope we don't get too much rain that they close down the trails.

Anyway, I may/may not post tomorrow (since I'll be up early to get up to Lake Norman) but if I'm not here - Happy 4th.  Hope you get some good food with good people.  And I certainly hope you all manage to retain all of your digits after playing with those illegal fireworks... although they might be legal here?  After living for so many years where fireworks were illegal, it's weird to see them in the stores here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

too damn hot for a penguin to be riding a bike

I had big plans yesterday.

Get to the trail early, get in a solo ride and then join the group for some fun.  Sounds good, right?  Felt good too... at first.  My legs were feeling pretty damn good.  Hell, they should, they've been used for beach walking and that's about it!  It was pretty hot out, so I decided to bring three bottles with me just to be safe.  It wasn't long into the ride before the air wrapped me in a nice wool blanket and shut things down quick.  I tried to combat it with water, downing my first bottle in no time and generously spraying my neck and head.  But soon I knew I was on the losing side of this battle and bailouts started looking like real options.

Let alone, ride a bike!

I swear it was in the mid 80s when I started and couldn't imagine that was hot enough to melt me the way it did...  I didn't take a bailout, but I decided to skip the options and ride the main trail all the way out.  That group ride that was happening later... yeah, not for me.  Not today.  No way, no how.  Even if I did cool down I'd have nothing in me.  I got so hot that chunks materialized in my mouth at one point.  Throwing up from the heat really isn't something I strive for on a ride, call me crazy.

When I got back I found some shade and downed a bottle and dumped one on myself.  Then I checked my phone.

A wee hotter than I had thought... not prepared for this heat at all!  Filled up another bottle and downed it.  I stuck around until everyone arrived - continuing to sweat in the shade.  I said "hey" and whatnot and then took off as everyone went out to suffer enjoy the trails.

Guess I need to ride early/late from here on out.  The crazy thing is that the hottest part of the day down here is 3-4 pm is seems... not that I really want to be out on a road ride at noon (I say that now, but watch me do it tomorrow...).

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Celebrations and whatnot

My parents came down at the end of last week to visit, and celebrate my brother's Birthday - hence I wasn't here yesterday.  This weekend was filled with celebrations and soccer... no bikes.  If I'm lucky, I will finally get back on a bike tonight for our weekly social ride out at the Whitewater Center.  I'm going to head out there early to get in some extra riding in (again, if the rain holds off and the trails stay open) since it has been WAY too long since I've ridden.  Really.  Like, so long I don't actually want to think about it and quantify it, long.  I've got some big events all smashed into August/September so I need to get some legs back underneath me here...

Come back tomorrow to see if I really did remember how to ride a bike.

In other news:

Dwayne has done me the honor of producing a Team Glow Worm decal, check it out!

You too can represent the Glow Worm with a kick ass decal. You can put it:
on your bike - be my teammate why don't you??
your car - keep people off your rear in traffic
the fridge - preferably the one with the beer in it, you know the one I'm talking about.
in the bike room/space/temple/garage - the Glow Worm will keep all your rides nice and safe
any damn where!

Team Glow Worm from Dwayne Hunter Design Company on Square Market