Thursday, January 29, 2009

PMC Filling Up Fast

That Time of Year, Again...

Do I commit to raising $4200* for Cancer Research to take part in the Pan Mass Challenge?

(* this is the minimum amount for the Sturbridge-Provincetown 2-day ride)

It is a daunting amount to raise. Though as I get older I learn about more and more people who have either had cancer, had a loved one who had cancer, or who have it right now.


On FaceBook I have 200+ friends. If I got each of those friends to donate just $20, I would be able to hit $4200. Hmmmm, food for thought...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Learning About Core Strength: Both the Easy Way and the Hard Way

Learning About Core Strength: The Easy Way

I read an article in the latest issue of Bicycling Magazine called "Get Power Abs". It talks about how cyclists who work full time sitting in a cubicle and ride only on the weekends tend to have issues with their lower back, amongst other things. It was a pretty good article and I wish they had an online version I could link to. The article pretty much described me to a "T".

O.K., this week I will try to incorporate some Core Strength training into my routine.

Learning About Core Strength: The Hard Way

Within and hour of reading that article, I went to lift up my youngest daughter and the muscles in my lower back gave out. I was lying flat on my back in the hallway for about an hour.

That sucked!

Like I said, it took about an hour before I was able to pull myself back up. Not an easy thing to do without using you lower back muscles. Luckily I was able to make creative use of my upper body and leg muscles and a door frame to pull myself up.

Needless to say, I did not get up early and get on my bike trainer this morning. However that doesn't mean I am giving up on training this winter. If anything, it is telling me I need to do more training and not just on my bike trainer.

More on Lower Back Pain

Low back pain can affect the back anywhere below the ribs and above the legs. The lower back is the connection between the upper and lower body, and it bears most of the body’s weight. Because of these roles, it is easily injured when you lift, reach, or twist.

Low Back Pain -

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Week 3: Not on Trainer...

Slacking - Monday

On Monday, MLK Day, I had off so I didn't get up early. Early is the only time I can get on the my bike trainer with 2 attention demanding daughters.

Slacking - Wednesday

My youngest decided she had had enough sleep at 2:00 AM last night. She went back to sleep after it was time for me to get ready for work. No trainer today.


Hopefully I'll hit my bike trainer at least once, maybe twice, before the week ends. I don't want this week to be a total loss.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Protect Your Trainer Bike"

I recently received the following article on one of the cycling email groups I belong to. I figured I would repost it here:

Quick Tip: Protect Your Trainer Bike. This tip comes from endurance cycling legend and PAC Tour poobah Lon Haldeman, who lives in cold, snowy Wisconsin. You know what that means in winter -- yep, plenty of sweaty trainer time.

"Give your trainer bike a good mist spray of Boeshield T-9 every week," Haldeman advises. "The wax base will keep salty sweat from rusting metal parts and blistering the paint. It's essential for a steel frame.

"Some places tend to rust quickly, like around the stem, fork crown, front brake, water bottle mounts, cable guides and under the bottom bracket. Even if you dry your bike with a towel after each workout it's tough to get into all the small places that sweat collects. The T-9 gets into those vulnerable spots and leaves a protective transparent coating.

"It's okay to leave this layer of T-9 on a trainer bike, but if it's also your regular road bike you can remove the coating in the spring. Use mineral spirits and a small paint brush. A rinse with soap and water using a soft brush will get your bike looking like new again -- rust free."

My bike has a few layers of car wax on it so I think it is pretty safe.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Week 2! Still on the Trainer

Week 2

It's Week 2 and I am still on my bike trainer. My goal is to get on the bike trainer every M-W-F. So far so good. My legs are getting a good work out. However it occurs to me that I am doing nothing for my upper body and core muscles. I may have to un-bury my weight set.

Monday, January 12, 2009

2008 - Year in Review.

The Stats...

First off, I'd like to say that I have ridden more this year than any other year. 1,402.73 miles on the Road Bike, . I'm not sure how. Let see:

I keep a bike log in a MS Excel spreadsheet. I enter the Date, Distance, Time, and MAX. I also have a column entry for which bike I was riding and another column for type of ride (Solo, Club, Paceline, Fun, Commute, and Event).

When it comes to spreadsheets, I am a freak.

You'd have to see my bike log spreadsheet to fully appreciate that statement. With all the reports, finters, and charts that I have in there it is too complicated to export to a Google Doc Spreadsheet.

Mountain Biking

I dragged my mountain bike through the local woods during the winter months of 2009. I really should do more of that.

Biking to Work

In 2008 I started a new job at in Maynard, MA. I was no longer working in downtown Boston and a slave to the train schedule (and train delays...). A colleague at my new job was a former bike racer and commuted by bike as often as he could no matter what the weather was. I plotted out a route that turned out to be 25 miles each way. Not ideal for everyday bike commuting, at least for me. My colleague suggested that I drive in, bike home; then bike in and drive home, alternating biking and driving. The times I did that it worked out well.

There was one time that I biked to and from work in the same day. 50 miles in one day with a full day of work in the middle. I was tired. I think it is easier to ride 50 straight miles that to do 25 and 25 with 8 hours of desk time in between.

Most of my commuting rides were uneventful with only a few hairy intersections earlier in the year (I had cut those out). I did manage to have a wreck towards the end of June right before my Birthday.

I didn't get to do too much bike commuting in the heart of the summer because of the demands of the project I was working on. Hopefully I'll get more bike commuting in for 2009.

Group Riding

One big change this year is that I have done more "group" riding that in years past. In 2006 and 2007, the split was "77% solo/23% group" for 2006 and "63% solo/37% group" for 2007.

In 2008, my solo vs. group riding is almost 50/50; "54% solo/46% group" for 2008.

Phat Tuesday Evening Training Rides

I logged 300 miles of riding with the Phat Tuesday Rides in 2008. That's almost twice as much as 2007 (176).

For some reason though, it doesn't feel lke I steadily improved over the course fo the year. In 2007 I peaked at 19.3 mph average at the end of August. In 2008, I was all over the place in averages with no clear trend. My fastest ride was 18.8 mph on the 3rd ride at the beginning of June. Wierd.

The Saturday Morning Rides

I connected to an informal Saturday Morning group of rides after running into a neighbor while out on a ride.

These "Saturday Morning" riders are fast. I'll need to ride with them more so I can ride faster (or at least smarter) myself, especially on climbs.

Club Rides

Hmmm... For some reason I thought I did more club rides with the Naragansett Bay Wheelmen this year. It turns out I only did three. Two in August and the TFCE in September.


Schwinn Varsity

I dug my 1982 Schwinn Varsity out of my father's garage this year with grand plans on doing something with it like fixing it up to be a winter ride, maybe convert it to a single speed. About all I've done with it is thrown on new tires.

It has great potential to be a money pit.

My Birthday Metric

For my 40th birthday I wanted to plan a ride with some close friends. I kept it to a Metric and not a Century as to not scare off too many people. As it turns out, only my friend Mike came along. In 2009 I think I will open it up to more people.


Despite all the riding I have done in 2008, I somehow managed to gain weight. I've already been on my bike trainer 5 times so far this year (more than any other year already) and I hope to reverse that trend. I would like to join the Pan Mass Challenge this year, however:

  • I don't know what my travel schedule will be like for this summer.
  • $4,200 is a daunting amount to raise.

If I do sign up for the ride, I would then have to decide whether to join the local PMC Team (Phat Tuesday) or join the team here at work (PMCMonsters). Registration is soon so I better decide fast.

I think I'll definitely do the TFCE again this year.

Another goal I think is to simply ride more. Even if it means some short rides.

Bike Trainer: Week 2, Monday

Week 2

I almost didn't want to get on my bike trainer this morning. I was still tired and my calves were still sore form skiing with my daughter this past Saturday. I forced myself to do it and I'm glad I did.


Lats week while on the trainer, I though it would be cool to take the spreadsheet I had made and develop an online countdown timer based on it. After looking into how complicated it is to make an online timer, I decided to just use an online stopwatch that somebody else had already created. My bike trainer is next to my basement computer desk which has our old laptop on it. It is much easier to track time for the workout with the online stopwatch rather than watching the clock on the Cable Box.

Friday, January 9, 2009

On the Trainer For the 3rd Time This Week!

Week 1, done :-)

Yup, I successfully got up on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 4:40 AM and did an hour long work-out on my bike trainer. Believe it or not, I never set the alarm for that time.

Things I Noticed While on the Trainer

Here are some things I noticed while on the trainer:

  • The magnets in my bike trainer's resistance mechanism are noisy at times. So far I've been fixing that by pedaling faster. Probably could use a couple drops of oil.
  • My rear derailleur needs to be adjusted. I actually noticed that back in the fall and I have never done anything about it.
  • One sweats a lot on a bike trainer. My breathable t-shirts are usually soaked through at the end of the hour.

So far I've been feeling pretty good at the end of each workout. I imagine I will be upping the resistance level on my bike trainer as I train more.

Now the true test will be whether I get up at 4:40 AM next Monday and get on the trainer. Certain people seem to think that I won't last past the first week ;-)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Trainer, 2nd Day This Week

A Routine, finally...

I go up early and got on my trainer for the second time this week. Now if I can repeat this on Friday, then maybe I'll have a good routine established :-)

Hopefully some of this holiday weight gain will start to melt away soon...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Training in 2009

For Real This Time...?

Every winter I say that I am going to commit to using my bike trainer, and every winter I use it a couple of times and that's it. This year I am going to try and stick to the plan.

So Far, So Good...

It is January 5th and I have already been on my trainer twice this year. The first time on Friday, January 2nd and this morning. I've put on a lot of pounds this holiday season and I am desperate to get them off.

My Trainer Set Up:

In addition to the basics...:

  • A 16 ft. headphone extension cord so I could listen to the TV while I'm on the trainer (the TV is hard to hear while on the trainer and I don't want to wake up the family).

I also have a spreadsheet printed out of Chris Carmichael's Weight-Loss Workout that I read about in Bicycling Magazine. I have this clipped to the cables coming off my handlebars.