Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Early and Often

I've recently been on a couple of longer rides where friends have bonked and seemed to have had nutritional problems. I think I've got a formula for my self that works pretty well. But that formula depends on convience stores for refueling and I couldn't find one when I needed one this past sunday when I rode out and up Wachusett Mt.  I think my hydration was off.  But here's what I usually do:

I start with one bottle of full strength and one of half strength Gatorade (or preferably Clif Shot Electrolyte ;), a few Clif Shots, a bag or two of Clif Blocks, 2 energy bars, a small pack of twizzlers and a snickers. For long rides I think it's better to head out the door with too much rather than too little. Plus the food general doesn't weigh much nor take up room. For the latter two componets of my jersey pocket pantry; Sometimes the sport specific food just doesn't cut it in terms of palatability. Also I don't usually eat candy bars, but isn't a 5 hour ride, where you're burning thousands of calories the perfect excuse to have a bit of nutrition naughty? It's good to have a couple of options, and regular food can also be a really nice alternative to choking down yet another sweet, carbo laden energy bar. For instance I have a friend who likes ham and cheese sandwiches on his long workouts.  Maybe not the best power food, but it gets him through.

Once I'm on the bike I find that I have to eat pretty consistently throughout the ride. About 45 minutes in I'll start with a bite of a bar and continue to eat something every 15-30 min. It's frequent that a longer ride will be at a slower pace than a shorter training ride, but in my opinion it's just as important to start eating just as early. If you wait 'till you're hungry you're going to be in for a world of hurt. What's nice about that pack of Twizzlers is the 10 easy to eat pieces with 20 calories each. Strip off just a couple for a little munch and work on the rest later.  (I also knew a pro triathlete that work through a big bag of Twizzlers on her long training rides)

The early and often rule applies to drinking too.  I try to put down a bottle every hour if I can.... Which is where things went wrong on Sunday.  I ran out of water before summiting Wachusett, thinking there'd be a store around the mountain.  Short of it is, I didn't get to drink enough before I stopped for to refuel.  Refuling is: a 12 oz coke and a little bag of chips, maybe a little ice cream sandwich, plus fluids and more bars for the pantry.  Unfortunately I forgot to buy gatorade and had to settle for water for the rest of the ride.  Not choice.  End result was a discontent stomach the last hour or so.  Not upset, just off.  
Hey, back at it this weekend and we'll see what happens.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Something Nice

So Sarah says that after I say something negative I have to say something nice. So here it goes.

First off I would like to clarify that I don't dislike my Craft jersey. It's really comfortable and it fits well. The pockets in the back sag a tad and they're unusually low, however it's probably the nicest jersey I own. (But I still feel sorry for the people I pass on the street.)

Here's where I get nice: But I would like to say that Craft made some of my favorite clothing. I have a pair of Craft longjohns that I absolutely love. As well as a long sleeve shirt from them that's just bitchin'. The shorts that I got with my jersey are the best made pair I own and I always try to squeeze a second ride out of them before it's necessary to throw them in the hamper (and not pull them out again).
So in sumation Craft rocks! (Jersey's still ugly)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dagg, What a weekend

(This weekend was a few weeks ago, but here's the report)

I had a great couple days up in Franconia at the Wheelworks
Multisport weekend. I got up to the Kingdom Trails on friday afternoon and got a great MTB session in. I've been thinking about trying out some Xterra triathlons this summer and figured I better spend some time on top of the X-C saddle. I felt pretty comfortable cruising around their phenomenal trail system. I kept thinking that it's awesome to bike solo because you have no idea how bad you are. I have a steel Barracuda A2T that's about 12 years old. I got it working well last fall, and it gets me through. But the biggest problem is that it has a wicked long wheel base and is pretty poor at making tight turns. Needless to say there were more than a couple of sketchy corners that involved a lot of brake. But I had a blast and am ready to get out there again and try some races soon.

Saturday started with a totally kick ass breakfast. I had wholewheat pancakes with berries that were very well done and cooked all the way through. (So sad to hear about your's Kimmy) Had to double up with the oatmeal too since it was all included. We all ponied up and hit the road about 9:30 and mostly road together for the first 30-40 minutes before we hit the first of our 4 gaps. Kinsman Notch was an unexpected climb. It came early and wasn't very long, but the pack got pretty well cut up at that point. Coming down the east side of Kinsman into Lincoln was a totally unexpected bonus. A ripping downhill with nice pavement and few turns which made for a bombing ride. I topped out at 57.8 mph. .8 off of my all time speed record. We had a good tail wind and if I had any idea that a steep hill was coming I would have pushed the top to gain a little more speed.

Quick water stop in Lincoln and then on to the Kancamagus Highway. As we started up the long ascent Pat took the first pull on the pace line we got into and was hitting it hard. I was sitting back a couple of wheels waiting for him to peel off wondering how long he was going to be able to hold on. (The answer was not very long) But we all regrouped with the view at the top and had another long tricep burning decent.

Up over Bear Notch and down into a pit stop at the Bartlett general store. Which, by the way, is for sale. Our attention was politely drawn to this fact by the hand written note tacked between a bakesale flyer for the 'Chuch of Our Lady of the Snow' and an offer to trade two tickets to NHIS for a '73 Starcraft Swinger six person pop-up trailer. Store was only $350,000 (plus inventory) if you're interested.

From here the ride started to get challenging. About 60 miles in and we're heading up towards Crawford Notch into a fierce headwind. To make the ride complete I popped a flat. (3:56 to fix it. I thought that was decent.) It was beautiful heading up through the notch. I felt surprisingly good through the last 20 miles. I thought for sure that I had a tail wind or was cruising slightly downhill back towards the Inn. It was a good sign to be feeling so strong throughout the ride. I was expecting to pull off the bike with hurting legs, but made it through a 30 minute run pain free. Up and Up.

Saturday evening involved some quality lounging on the front porch. A quick trip into Franconia (home of Bode Miller) for some post ride food. (Chicken parm at the "other bar in town". The first bar was catering a party but didn't have an open kitchen, go figure.) A wade in the cold brook and then a pretty amazing and unexpected four course dinner.

We had a pretty nice 39 mile '30 mile' ride Sunday morning. The legs were not feeling snappy on any thing that went up. But the company and another rippin' downhill made the ride.
Then it was on to Mt. Lincoln. Jamie, Adam and I grabbed some sandwiches and threw down a furious assault on the Falling Waters trail. Wicked steep, gnarly stream crossings, snow packed upper half, bitchin' views from the top, and an amazing ridge run from Little Haystack over to Mt. Lincoln. 2500 feet in about 4 miles, not bad huh? Hill climbs don't get much better than this.

Pretty much an awesome weekend all around. And by far one of the best weekends of training ever.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Right Gear

I gotta say, one of my favorite things is having the right gear for the right outing/conditions/sport. I do a lot of sports and have no problem wearing x-c warm-ups on a winter hike. Not ideal but they work pretty damn well. Or making due with some marginally acceptable gear if I'm just starting to try out a sport.
But I've gone on enough cool weather bike rides trying to wear ski tights (not warm enough, or stretchy in the right ways) that I really appreciate the Specialzed leg warmers I bought last fall. They're all fuzzy inside and do a swell job blocking the wind, yum!
Or heading out on a winter hike with all the right layers on, gaiters covering up the tops of the waterproof boots. Getting to the top and throwing on the windproof shell. Ummm...
Guess it comes down to having gear that performs a job so you're comfortable. After all 'There's no bad weather. Just inappropriate clothing.' Right?
But still, getting suited up and saying 'I am so prepared to go out now.' That's the feeling I like.

This Jersey just feels Ugly

Thanks to an anonymous friend I recently got a really good deal on some Craft goods. For a little while now, I've been looking for an all black bike Jersey. Not so easy to find as it turns out. But I was looking on the Craft website and saw this:

Awe man this is perfect! It's a pretty sweet looking Black jersey with just a little subtle green piping right? I got such a good deal that I hooked it up with two of these jerseys. Man I'm so gonna rock the all black ensemble now. Rock racing watch out! Boo yah

Incidentally my Tri friend Chris Bagg was recently picked up by Craft and got a big box of clothing from them not too long ago. He affectionately described some of the styling as 'very euro'. I wasn't quite sure what he meant and thought he was being tough on the graphic designing.
But got damn he was way right. Package on the stoop, sweet! Rip it open, yes! Throw on my new all black jersey, No! Bah! There is way more green than advertised and it's much brighter and hideous than I had thought it would be.
It makes me a little bit nauseous every time I look at it. And oh, I had another seriously debilitating stomach bug last week. Which made the timing of my Craft package really bad. I was a little delirious and if my thoughts wandered over to Craft, or that package of goodies, then they inevitably lead to that damn jersey. Consequently I would get very queasy and wonder if I would make it to the toilet in time.
I was hoping that such an experience would pass as the sickness went away, but honestly it's been a little tough writing this post with that picture to my left.

On the up side! I rode in that jersey today and for the most part I can't see the green on the jersey while I'm riding. (Especially if I'm in the boring aerobars) But I pity the fool trying to duck into my draft. (Or driving by me, or walking in the other direction, or innocently watching traffic go by.) And I still have a second jersey, size medium, in it's original packaging if you're interested. Sounds hard to resist huh?