I am getting stronger. My personal testing hill is the Old Redmond Road. It is part of my commute and every time I climb it I beat my previous times. Nothing shocking but I am happy with my training and other workouts.
My ride home was also good. The ride on the SRT was nice and fast(for me) and then the hill to my house was also a PR.
My Friend pre-ride
My bike is my friend. Earlier this year my diabetes was uncontrolled and I had a high A1C. Now my blood tests came back and my A1C is normal at 5.5% indicating that my diabetes is under control. My blood pressure, cholesterol and other indicators are all good as well. This wouldn't have happened if I didn't change my lifestyle from the sedentary slump it has been in for the last 2 years. I improved my diet, I changed my schedule to improve control over diet and medications, and last but not least I started riding my bikes again. I am also working on my core and upper body to get better on the bike.
Yes I did this for my health, but I am not easily motivated by health concerns. I am doing this for the cycling, toward achieving goals on the bike. My focus today is PBP 2019 and completing it in good form and under 80 hours, ideally less than that. My immediate focus is training for a fast century in 2016. That means power intervals, aerobic intervals and endurance riding all focused on the target of a fast century in September 2016. Cycling goals have motivated me before and I did ride the 2009 STP at a good average speed of 16.2mph. I can better that next year on the scale of a century instead of a double century.
Cycling gives me satisfaction in multiple ways.
The joy of physical activity.
Exploring the world around me, by riding I explore the world. I am not heads down on a computer.
Social exploration. I make new friends and acquaintances by riding and organizing rides.
Planning. I enjoy planning activities and making plans a reality.
Competition. I enjoy competition. I am not very fit at the moment but I will be and I will enjoy testing myself.
All in all I am happy to make these changes and I look forward to my new future.
First things first. My Vendetta named Vixen is now road worthy. I did a test ride commute yesterday and she is good to go.
So now that this is settled I am going to be commuting and training on my Vixen. The other story is about what my goals are for 2016. I posted goals here but my trainer Thom advised me to reset given my target of 2019 PBP and my current fitness. He recommended targeting a fast century late in the 2016 season. So I went looking for a century ride that I could ride at a race pace. I eliminated the Red-Bell 100 by Cascade since it spends too much time on bike trails which are very nice but have speed limits and other trail users. Because of issues like this I eliminated a lot of rides. Most of the Cascade rides are pretty crowded and descending past uprights on twisty Eastside roads gives me pause. The early seasons rides were all eliminated as well. So with that in mind I looked farther afield. I found a great century route in Coeur d'Alene called Couer d'Fondo. It is a 108 mile route with beautiful roads. It has ~5900 ft of climbing and follows the local ironman race route. It also awards medals based on finishing time.
Finishers Medals: 108 miles
5.5 hours = 1st
6.0 hours = 2nd
6.5 hours = 3rd
This intrigues me. I won't set my target time until I get closer to the ride date but tentatively I am aiming at sub-6 hours with that amount of climbing. With that as my target in 2016, I will keep my other riding to shorter values through the year as well. I will not do any 200k rides and instead stick to 100k Populaires. I want to be working on speed all year. I will be following my training with power, endurance and aerobic workouts each week. I am also adding in core work, lower back work and some upper body work. I don't want to bulk up but instead be lean up top. I am considering joining LA fitness, they have less of the bro culture there and a good selection of classes. That is all for now. Enjoy one more picture of Vixen.
I am still making progress on my Vendetta build the "Vixen". I wrapped the bar with yellow bar tape last night during the rain. The job wasn't perfect but I like it. I like the look. The next issue is the fit and seat. The stock seat doesn't work for me. I need to be a wee bit farther forward to reach the pedals properly without cutting the boom. In addition it is about 6 inches too short to hit my shoulders. So there is a solution Volae Hardshell Carbon Fiber Seat Size L
I am going to follow Rick Youngblood's directions and mount this to my Vixen. This will achieve the following goals for me
Provide a seat I can ride on for hours without back pain.
By mounting it slightly forward of my current seat I will get 10mm or so closer to the pedals. Just the distance I need for comfort and fit.
This will solve the rear bag issue. I can easily mount a Bent-Up Aerobag to the upper part of the new seat.(note: link may break due to Bent-Up cycles redesigning their web commerce site, search by name in that case)
You can see how it will look on a Vendetta at Rick Youngblood's page I ordered the yellow version of course. I am also going to follow Rick's lead by mounting my mirrors to the hoods of my brifters
I am also going to install these iSSi pedals on my Vixen. They are nice light and supportive pedals that use SPD enclosures iSSI trail pedals
What this means is that I have a bead on solving a number of issues.
Crank/Position and Bike Fit (seat)
Storage for Brevets/Commute (seat, aerobag)
Hydration via water bottles in aerobag (seat, aerobag)
Rear Light and reflectors (Adem Headrest, Princeton Tec Swerve Taillight)
Be Seen red lights
Mirrors (Zefal Spyx2)
Bike Computer (Garmin 520)
That is quite the list. I will be ready for anything from a social neighborhood ride to a commute to a 200k brevet.
So I got my bike back from the LBS. There was some confusion regarding the chain and some adjustments that I had to get them to revert since they changed the boom and handlebar position which affects the fit for my x-seam. But once we ironed that out I got the "Vixen" back home. They only charged me labor even though I know they must have used some new cables and housing so I can't complain. One of the guys tried to ride the Vendetta but that ended quickly as he had no experience and I didn't want him to get hurt or my bike.
My wife christened the Vendetta "Vixen" with a bit of alliteration and a hint of jealousy. She is awesome and the name is good. I got on the bike and did some rolldowns and tried to follow the script by ratz and Cruzbike on learning to ride a Cruzbike. (source). Soon enough I was doing 2 block out and backs turning around in the road and pedalling uphill, coasting downhill. I did this in loafers and after about 40 minutes I had to go inside and switch to cycling shoes. I changed clothes entirely and went back out in cycling kit. The loafers have no support and I needed a firm sole. I started clipping in and riding and it went well. So I did another 20 minutes with the garmin attached. Here are the results of that learning from strava:
After that I rested a bit and Kristin came home. She wanted to go on a ride so we did another 3 miles with more hills.
By the way, the Garmin 520 came with Strava Premium and I am enjoying it immensely. The nice embedding for blogs and social integration is fun and useful. I will continue to ride my "Vixen" each evening until Sunday when I have a little meetup planned on the Centennial trail. I feel mostly ready for bike trails today so I should be ready for the trail. If I can do 2 miles of hills I can commute, and that is the near term goal.
I am stressed on waiting for my bike. 2 weeks is forever and I keep stressing that something will get broken while it sits in the shop. Replacing the seat or something like that isn't cheap and would piss me off as well as wasting yet more weeks. Kristin and I have been riding locally which prevents me from having to transport bikes. I am doing well with my glucose levels and losing weight steadily but I need to train. I need my bike back.
I can't wait until my lease is up so I can get a pickup. Being able to transport the bikes easily and without danger will be a joy. /sigh.
I recently got a new bike. A Cruzbike Vendetta, here she is being built up
Here is a picture of her built up by her former owner (picture removed and replaced with one of mine)
I have type 2 diabetes. I am changing my diet and using my cycling habit to get back into shape. My goal is 170 lbs. I currently weigh about 220lbs. Here is a nicely unflattering picture of myself at max weight of 230 or so
So I have had to reprioritize and reasses. My thoughts are:
I need to lose weight and get fitter
I like to ride and I was at my fittest when training for the STP in 2009.
I have lost weight before when training and riding.
I do well when I have a long term goal in mind.
I like long distance riding.
So this has me contemplating PBP 2019. Paris Brest Paris is a 1200 km brevet. It is an older ride than the Tour de France and has a great history. I will be 50 in 2019. On the face of it this is a good long term goal and I can work toward it starting now.
So with that in mind what are my short term goals. They can be broken down into parts.
Cycle Commuting. I wish to ride 3 times a week to/from work. I will work up to 5 days a week.
Working out. I will supplement my cycling with in-home workouts. I will start with push-ups as they are good for upper body and core strength and won't interfere with cycling days.
Diet. My goal is 170lbs. I have already made changes for diabetes but I need to get my weight down to be faster and a better climber.
My 2016 plans at this point include a few cycling events:
SIR Winter Training Series 2016 [cost $0] - This traditionally starts with 60km rides in early January and builds to 160km by end of February. Climbing on each route is at least 2500 ft. I will need to be working all Fall/Winter to be up for this.
Chilly Hilly 2016 [cost $28] - 40 miles, 2200ft of climbing in February. A good incentive to keep fit all winter long.
Midweek Evening Eastside Training Series - Cascade training series link
SIR Spring Brevets [cost $15] - SIR runs a 100k populaire in March.
SIR Spring Brevets [cost $15]- SIR runs a 200k Brevet in March.
SIR Spring Brevet [cost $15]- SIR runs a 300k Brevet in March/April
Cascade STP [cost $150]- The Seattle to Portland event runs in June.
RSVP [cost $150] - ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party, which runs in August.
The rough cost for these events should be about ~$400 for the year plus transportation and food.
Various other 200k permanents or brevets are also possible but I don't want to overbook. I want to keep my stress level down and build up strength in 2016. With this in mind I don't want to do any rides longer than 210 miles or so. I also will work on strength training and hill climbing. The Vendetta is my hill climbing secret weapon. It is the lightest bike I have owned and has the best drivetrain and components. I will endeavour to keep it light and to make myself lighter as the months pass.
If I get fit enough I may start various bike shop rides for training as well.
I had taken the Mango Sport off the road for a while. She got hurt by some bollards and it took a while to repair her and I got a bit out of shape in the meantime. I allowed this to bench my mango. In April I was considering selling her but decided against it. Instead I have cleaned her up, got all the electronics working, horn, turn signals, lights, taillight, etc. I took her our for a short ride today, I am still out of shape and moving the Velomobile is harder work than my Raptobike. But I put 5 or so miles in about half of it up hill. The mango is such a great bike and I am happy it is on the road again. Once I get into commuting shape I will be riding her 3-7 days a week. I am super excited.
One of the nice things about the mango is how everyone smiles and waves at you. The energy is very positive and I could use more of that.
So I tuned up the Raptobike and took her out on a couple of rides. I did about 15 miles on Friday and 18 on Saturday. Of all of my bikes I am most adjusted to the raptobike and so it was a breeze. No discomfort or real stress even though I haven't been riding at all. I am very pleased and am looking forward to the riding season this year.
So I am making some changes in my life and want to get back in shape. This means getting a bike I will ride. I won't ride a diamond-frame or any non-recumbent. I gave it a whirl and it is just too hard on my body. The Raptobike aka White Rabbit is a great bike but it has some failings of my own design. I switched to disk brakes and a drum brake rear making it too hard to change any tire. It still has a 20" front wheel which has been difficult during road construction or any obstruction of my cycling route. I am also more fearful since a few people have been killed on my commute route. It also won't fit in any of the cars we own at the Watson house and I like having that backup if something goes wrong on a ride.
The Mango is difficult to work on and repair. I love the bike but unless I learn to be a better bike mechanic I will be selling it to buy a Cruzbike Silvio V30 or possibly a Vendetta V20 (both are approximate seat angles by the way, not versions). The bent online community is conspiring to have me choose the Vendetta and I do prefer a stiff frame but I get ahead of myself. The two Cruzbike models mentioned are both high end bikes that perform well in the road riding world. They have both been involved in record setting mostly by Maria Parker, who is an amazing athlete. They are Front-Wheel Drive Moving Bottom Bracket bikes, aka FWD-MBB. This means that the pedals up front turn with the front end. It apparently takes some getting used to though it has advantages in climbing. Various types of theorists may fight over that claim but anecdotal evidence supports the climbing benefits. I don't think I will have too much of a learning curve and if I just ride the darn thing then I will adjust. The level of comfort I have even now on the Raptobike is very high and I have had some interesting spills on it.
Given that the Vendetta has a lower seat height and other advantages, if I can get it into a Ford Focus Hatchback than I will likely make that my choice. At this point in time. I could change my mind. I also hope to buy a few new accessories with the mango money, lights, camera, gps, bike bags and a hard-shelled bike box for air transit. But that is more long term. At the moment I am cleaning up my bikes, doing the basic maintenance and riding. Lets see how it goes...