Hello? Is there anybody out there?????

hello

Have you ever been trying to reach someone, maybe by phone or email, and despite your desire to reach them, you get no response? Thoughts go through your mind… Did I say something to upset them? Do they just not like me? What gives?

Now imagine that by accident you had disabled their ability to reach you. That is pretty much what has happened on this blog. Doh!

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For quite a long time, I have made post after post with absolutely no feedback from my audience. None. Not even a hearty, “You suck!” Just silence. I figured maybe nobody really looks at this or maybe it just isn’t that compelling to inspire someone to comment back.

Then today I decided to have my wife try to comment on a post. She couldn’t! After poking through the settings, I found the culprit- a checked box. After I removed that little tick, BINGO!!!! Everything seems to be working again.

Now, I understand that you may not want to comment or that you just don’t find my ramblings worth your words, but on the stray chance that you decide to tell me to go jump off a cliff, now you can. πŸ™‚

I look forward to everyone’s replies!

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Training rides

So it has been about two weeks since my last post and training is moving along nicely. Fortunately the weather has cooperated and spring is in full swing. Last weekend I got out for 102 miles on Saturday and another 44 Sunday.

Yesterday I had plans to get 150 miles in. When I woke up, I was lazy and went back to sleep. Bad Brian! After laying in bed until 8:00 or so, I finally got up, ate, did some chores and lazily rolled out at 9:30.

The plan was to go East on the Trans Am 75 miles, then turn around and come home. The weather was cool, so I wore my windbreaker. I had a very relaxing stroll for the first 31 miles and never put a foot down. Gotta love it when you don’t have to stop!

After a short nature call, I took off my jacket and it was back to it, if only for a short spell. Stopped at the convenience store in St Mary 36 miles in to grab something to eat and refill fluids. While stopped, I added the jacket back. Not quite warm enough to go without it yet.

I left St Mary headed for Chester and once I was on the flats near the river, I felt the brunt of the Easterly winds we were having. Headwinds on the flats are worse than climbing!

I crossed the Mississippi, climbed the hill into Chester and stopped at Casey’s for a quick snack and some orange juice. I really didn’t feel the need to stop having only ridden 13 or so miles, but it seemed prudent. That and I wanted to take the jacket off again. The sun was out and I was heating up.

The roller coaster hills along County Farm Rd as I left Chester were a bit brutal with the headwinds! Little gears and patience were the method of the afternoon. I still had a long way to go and did’t want to burn up. A days worth of cycling can be thought of as a matchbook. You have a limited number of matches to burn. Use them wisely.

Through Wine Hill and on to Campbell Hill. I stopped in Campbell Hill and their little C-store and refuel again. Just a quick snack and a drink. Just 10 miles or so to my turn around!

Down Rt 4 to Ava and onto Ava Rd. I was feeling a little beat up and didn’t like the idea that although I was almost to my turn around, I had a long row to hoe to get back home!

I use two different methods of mileage tracking. I have the Strava app running on my phone and a simple wired bike computer on the bars. My computer usually is off to the plus side a bit so I wanted to make sure that Strava had 75 miles before I turned around. With my phone being in my top tube bag, I had to unzip, open the lock screen and check it to see what it read.

At around 72 miles on the computer, I checked Strava. It showed about 1 mile behind my computer, so I zipped the bag up and kept going. When I neared 76 on my computer, I check the phone again and got a little frustrated. Somehow I had paused Strava when I checked before! Bummer! Not wanting my ride to show up less than 150 when I finished and uploaded it to Strava, I kept going another 1.5 miles or so. Not that big of a deal, but not what I wanted to do either!

I took the following video at the turn around.

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As I turned and headed West, I started feeling the benefit of having dealt with the headwind all day- tailwinds home!

I stopped in Campbell Hill again for a snack and drink on the way back. I skipped the stop in Chester and made my final stop in St Mary.

Leaving St Mary, the sun was almost set and it was cooling off. I put my windbreaker back on and headed off for the final 36 miles home.

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Once the sun went down, I got to try out my light setup. Just a little different than what I normally use, but it worked well and I should have plenty of light (not only to see, but enough power to last the night) for Trans Iowa next month.

I won’t say that I wanted to go any farther, but overall I felt fine as I rolled back into Farmington. Sore hands and a bit road weary, but nothing out of the ordinary. I really need to get my aero bars on my road bike before I go out for another long one, just so I have another hand position.

In the end, the ride went great! To critique myself, I needed to drink more water throughout the day. The best part of the day was recognizing that I crossed over a “wall” at about 105 miles or so. Up to then, I was struggling with my hands and but aching and generally just wanting to get off the bike. After that, I got beyond all that mentally and just cruised on. Exactly what needs to happen when I go to ride 331 miles at Trans Iowa. Not far now! Just 32 days!!!

This week I will be going through my “gravel” bike. Right now it is in pieces as I took it apart for inspection. Good thing. Bottom bracket was shot. I’ll have it back together for next Sunday as I head out for a ride in Steelville, MO called Death by Gravel. 90 miles of Ozark gravel roads. Should be easy after 150 this weekend!

Sprang upon us

Holy smokes! Without even realizing it, a month goes by without a new blog post. Shame on me. πŸ˜‰

That being said, I have been busy. Of course there is the normal family, work, training and such. As it is with a lot of folks, one thing leads to another and time just flies by. So much so that there are only 43 days left until Trans Iowa V.11!

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Just a few days after my last post, we got a good dose of winter. Icy temps and several inches of snow/ice made for a rough way to go for riding. I tried to get out on the MTB, but it really was a lost cause. My 2.2″ tires didn’t have enough float to stay on top of the icy crust and were too wide to cut through the 5-6″ of snow and ice. My one shot at riding in the snow netted a whopping 7 miles, at least 1 of which was pushing my bike. I decided to wait for better weather.

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In the mean time, I tried to stay on a semi-regular regiment of running and an upper body/core workout. I have seen some improvements and look forward to utilizing that core strength as the spring progresses. There is still a long row to hoe in that department though!

After a week or so, the roads thawed out and even though it was still in the 20’s and 30’s, I was able to get out and put some miles on the road bike. Still yet, I was feeling behind. “Some miles” are good and I do have some time to prepare yet for Trans Am Bike Race, but I have a big hurdle at the end of April in Trans Iowa (TI). 331 miles of gravel will be a big test, but without good mileage between now and then, I might further jeopardize my chances at finishing.

So when an extended weekend trip to the Florida panhandle for mine and my wife’s 20th anniversary came along at the beginning of March, I took advantage of the opportunity to run and ride along the beautiful sandy beaches. It was fantastic! And such a relief from the nasty weather.

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Of course, back in Missouri winter was flexing it’s muscles with one more shot of arctic air along with more snow and ice. We literally made it home just a couple hours before the storm hit. It took another 3 or 4 days for things to thaw out enough to allow road riding. Fortunately, spring showed up immediately!

This past weekend brought temps in the 60’s which meant miles of smiles for this cat! Things are starting to come together and I am on the verge of getting some good mileage in. I have a hilly century planned for this Saturday and another 50 on Sunday.

With the snow and the subsequent thaw making trails unridable around here, there wasn’t any point in waiting. In preparation for TI, I transformed my Orbea Alma H20 into what I am calling my gravel hybrid. I removed my Rock Shox suspension fork and installed a Surly Krampus rigid Β fork. I also added a Fred Bar (made by Siren Bicycles) and threw a cheap set of Profile aero bars on. To complete the setup, I put some new shoes on the old girl. WTB Nano 2.1’s provide me with good traction in gravel and decent rolling resistance on the hard pack or pavement sections. The only thing left was to rename her. Thanks to the MTB Name Generator on Rt 66 Bicycles website, I christened her Stompatron!

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This setup gives me the best of what I can do right now. Purchasing a gravel or cross bike just isn’t in the budget, so for very little money, I will have a decent ride for TI. Not perfect, but not too shabby. I got the chance to take it out for 50 miles on Sunday afternoon. It was a mostly paved ride with only about 10 miles of gravel, but the bike is super comfortable. I dig it.

Training continues and so does gear selection and acquisition. A new rain coat, a bivvy and new booties (to replace my worn out ones) were in my mailbox this week. I need to manufacture a couple items, namely a saddle pak and some feed paks. Gear wise, I am really close to done for TI. The majority of preparations will be for TABR. Time is short, at just 85 days out (holy crap!!!), but I do have a bit of time to prepare yet. Time to work on my breathing exercises too. Just relax. πŸ™‚

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