Strava Challenge Accepted

The alarm clock goes off and all you want to do is go back to sleep. Until you have a day off. No alarm clock, no time to wake up, no obligations. So naturally you wake up earlier than you would have if you had something to do.
That was exactly my morning. I woke up without an alarm, then after finally falling back to sleep my neighbors woke me up about an hour later, then the garbage man did the job.
Finally at 9 am, I have no choice but to get up. I’ve been here so many times. And oh so often I chose to do absolutely nothing. Just lay in bed, maybe go back to sleep, maybe something else. What I have not been choosing is ride my bike.
Today I chose my bike.

I knew that I wanted to tackle the challenge purposed by Strava. 80 miles of riding. I didn’t want to just do 80, I wanted to do it with a purpose. My purpose was to ride like the rider you want to be, the rider that I once was, a rider who rides for the pure pleasure of it.
I got on my bike and just rode. I guess I should have planned my route out a little bit better as I had no idea how to get to the Rio Hondo river trail. After jumping two gates I finally found an “entrance”.

image

I tried to make conversation with someone who snuck up on me. She was apparently in the middle of a workout. As mean as it sounds I really was not riding very hard but easily keeping up. She kept looking at her helmet mounted rear view mirror at me. Finally she waved me to just pass her. I was bothered by it considering that I was not bothering her what so ever but I sped off anyways. 
It’s been a good few years since I rode the RHRT all the way to the beach. I almost felt lost on my way there. That question in your head, “am I going the wrong way?”  was playing in my head until I recognized where I was.
I was not in any kind of hurry on my way to the beach. Once at the beach I was in chill mode. I was just enjoying the weather, the views, and most of all the ride.

image

image

I ran into two riders who were doing the same route as me. We talked a bit then they stopped at a view. I made my way to seal beach and took the SGRT back home.
After having a headwind the whole way down to the beach, I now had a slight tailwind and took advantage of it. I just started looking for carrots up the road. I’d see a rider up the road and give myself a goal to catch them before an exit.
I remember smiling as I past my exit on the riverbed. At that point I guess I knew my route. Or at least I thought I did. After I climbed Turnbull I descended to Hacienda where I got the royal treatment from the mcdonalds staff.

image

I contemplated waiting for someone to help me finish the rest of the ride but I found some motivation from a friend and just got on my bike and “killed it”.
After Hacienda I took East Road to continue with my ride. I was planning on doing my Friday ride, the Vuelta. But just as I started climbing the golf course Hill I saw a carrot up the road.
Bob was doing a few hard hills before his group ride. I decided to join him.

image

After Ville we did a few other climbs some of which I had never even heard of. All of which were steep ass-kickers.
Maybe it was just meant to be but when I finished my ride I had almost exactly 80 miles. Sometimes things just work out.

image

image

Now what?

New job.
More hours.
Rebuilt caad 10.
And no time to ride it.
There is a difficulty in racing for one bike shop and working for another. My new job makes me beyond happy. Most of the time I just build beach cruiser and BMX bikes. Still in building bikes! I go home feeling so good, so satisfied. I do miss racing in Tuesday’s park to park series. It’s tragic but I will have Sunday’s off soon so that is a plus. Sure I’m not going to be a fit but I just want to race with TRU, my team, with GLK, my friends, and now with The Cyclery bike shop, my employer. Soon I will have my butt handed to me but that will be worth it.

image

March Madness

Hello long lost friend.
It’s funny how an open space of a virtual paper can be so comforting. So yet to be determined, so much potential. I guess that’s why I like new beginnings so much….
My riding has been improving and I joined a gym. March has been a long month for me. With my first race of the year, twice as many hours at work, hitting the gym about 4 times a week, and now a potential new part time job.
My new schedule seems to not leave time for one thing that I had unknowingly made a priority in my life, the bar scene. I know my old weight but I have not bothered to check it since January. I feel good and I’m more comfortable in my skin.
April is just around the corner and I think about potential goals. I would like to do a century even if I have no idea when I would have the time. I would also like to ride at least 100 miles a week. …funny, I remember when that goal was 300. I miss my team more than anything else so even though I really have no idea how I can ride with them, I want to find a way to ride with them at least once next month. I think one trainer session a week would be great.

In my head I’m saying all this while gazing up at an Arizona night sky.

Things are different than I thought. I’m lonelier than expected. I’m riding more than before and I’ve been much more active with my family and friends. Still I think the biggest problem is the loneliness.
Religion is just not an option for me. A new relationship is for sure not the answer. Something is needed, I just don’t know what that is.
People are so frail that they would rather throw their last quarter in a wishing well, rather than use it to buy dinner.
I have never been good at friendship, the few I hold mean a lot but it takes a special person to be my friend. I think only the best kind of person can be a friend to me.
I’m dragging in with nothing to really say. Goodnight.

Yesterday & Tomorrow.

I wouldn’t be me without being me. I have ruined my 100 day challenge, failing at just around 40 days. So now I have questions for myself. One, do I keep going? Do I start over? What caused me to fail? And how do I make sure it will not keep happening to me?
Well I really do not these answers but I heard something today that really made sense to me. Someone said
“There are only two days you cannot fix yourself, yesterday and tomorrow”.
With that said, I rode today.

A Teenage Anniversary of Sorts.

One month. I feel like a mid teen in high school, rejoicing over the successful completion of a thirty day commitment to my sweet heart. It’s been so long since I celebrated a one month anniversary that I almost feel silly doing so. Maybe the youth is right and its me who has become sophomoric? I had amazing rides, rides just to ride, and rides that were very forgettable. But I got my ride in no matter what, sure I wanted to take a day off no so much from not wanting to ride but more like not wanting go outside. It was a cold month and I have almost forgot that I started this little challenge injured. From injured to awesome, to sick, now recovered, the miles varied but the dedication did not. Still I have to take a step back and think, it’s only been a month, 31 days… but a wonderful 31 days. So why not celebrate? One month? Two? 12??? Who knows how this will end. I do know that next month starts today and I’m already on my bike.

image

Palm springs could have been a quick end to my plans but I was able to ride throughout my vacation.

image

My cousin’s birthday party was 5 miles away, but in the bitter cold. I got there feeling good, and was able to have a good time no matter what.

image

Got back in training mode with some intervals up Turnbull.

image

Raced in the Sun while it rained at home.

image

…and even drove out of my way with my roommate to make sure a friend didn’t drink and drive.

Yeah, why not look back and rejoice?  Why not make the little things count? If the little things sometimes appear to ruin a day why not let them make one?

Finding Peace at 180 Beats Per Min

So things are cha..cha..cha…changing.
As my goals have never been mile driven, and my meek 5 mile minimum is no longer concrete. Now I have a 5 mile or 30 min minimum. Also my I’m not sure if this was a goal or not but it was a Strava goal of mine to have 150 miles a week. It was 150 miles but now I think 10 hours is more my speed.Today was horrible, in the best way possible. After a 30 min warm up I gave it hell and was able to push an average heart rate of 180bpm for one hour. This was in no way easy. Not having a trainer is killing me, at the same time my girlfriend will not step foot in a gym without me, so this is my only choice. People were staring at me like I was a some circus freak show. I had a puddle under me that I didn’t even care about until after all was said and done. The last 15 mins was the worst, I decided to add 2 intervals to my one hour tempo and it was hell on stationary bike. for 5 mins I gave it all then for 5 mins I was allowed to go as low as 170bpm, then back at it! All out for the last 5 mins. I topped out at 201 bpm, I know I could have pushed another 3-6 beats so next time I’ll up the resistance. This is not my favorite way to get stronger but I know this works from past experience so I’m sticking to it.

Drive is a funny thing, you really don’t know you have it as a matter of fact you doubt you do… but if you can just keep pushing you will know at the end whether or not you had the drive. Here is the full work out if you care:

http://app.strava.com/activities/39026265#
comments are welcomed, advice is appreciated.

Ride 18 of 100: Intervals.

I kept imagining a beat up ford backfiring, with dark black smoke perfuming the air, that tasty LA scent that every cyclist knows. My lungs were on fire, my teammate ahead of me. Turnbull canyon has a way of taking it out of you. The reward (besides fitness) was amazing, clear skies, a view from Whittier to LA, and a teammate who really helps push me.

Not Ready to Win, but Ready to Race

Let me preface by stating that I got double booked with my cousin’s birthday party on Saturday night at a club, and my wake up time the next day at 5am.

0500, the birds are asleep, I’m asleep, the world’s asleep, but not Fernando. Fernando my cat 5 teammate for TRU cycling – Jax Bicycle Center, is already calling me telling me that he is already at my house. Still in a dream, I begrudgingly get out of bed and get ready for the Ontario GP.

It’s not only dark out but it’s cold, how cold, officially 28* at the starting line. Man I miss cat 5 racing, said no one ever. Fernando is set and ready to go, he races smart and uses his big motor to claim second place in his last cat 5 race.

My race is much different from his, I am not ready, I do not have the fitness, I did not put the sufficient amount of hours in. Still, I do have the drive and the confidence in the pack. I set up in the very front of the line to start, this helps with not having to work so hard from the get-go. We begin to make our way around the mix of lefts and rights though Ontario, ca. This is an all cat 4 field, something new to Ontario GP, something we’ve wanted for a while. What I’m certain no one wanted was a field of 125 rides with every slot on the roster spoken for. Even with the nice sweeping turns of the Ontario GP, it’s still just too congested to move around with any comfort. The pros may be able to handle a field this large but the 4s are just not ready to be grouped so largely together.

My fitness is suspect, and that is made clear right away as I find it hard to hold wheels, I maintain or gain position though handling skills alone. With no real power, it is hard to assert myself, and I am giving more spots up than I’m used to. There is also a safety issue, in every race there is a chance for a crash but for some strange reason riders are slowing before turns that need no decrease in speed. This is making everyone edgy and that feeling spreads though the peloton like a biblical plague.
I keep thinking, “this is the first race of the year, remember that” and it’s helping. Without the power to get away from trouble I find myself zig-zagging though people to stay away from others. The big scare of the race was when the pack was out of saddle for the traditional out of the turn sprint before braking into the next turn, when the rider in front of be had a blowout. Not a big deal, it was the second one of the race. This one was directly in front of me and the rider slowed down quite fast. I was able to get clear and even point him out as he didn’t even bother to follow etiquette and raise his arm, alerting the riders behind that he was stopping.
I finished the race the same way I always do, with a sprint. Obviously it is not a go for broke sprint as some riders don’t sprint they are not in top ten. I like to very money’s worth and push until the end. I finished 51st out of 125. Not impressive,  but for sure where I belong.

The second race was almost 5 hours after! This was hard on me psychologically but good for my body. I also got to enjoy some great racing with my team doing well. My second race was the cat 4-5 with a sold out field of 75. Now 75 riders I can live with, 75 cat 4 and 5s… well that’s not as inviting. I did what I typically do and I started as close to the front as possible. I had warmed up better than I ever have and I think that was a major difference in this race. I was able to move from the middle to the front with no problem. The group was not as full and there were more than enough openings. I had planned to either attack or go for a preem, a preem is a mid-race race in a way. It’s a way to build excitement and pick the overall speed of the race up. You get prizes for crossing line after they announce a preem lap. I was not able to get in a position to go for one but by trying to I realized that I could get to the front and even pull. Knowing I could go up and pull was a big confidence boost that later paid dividend a few laps later. There was 5 laps to go and as always people forget how to race as soon as they hear “we have 5 to go”.  There was a mix up and one rider took a closer look at the ground in front of me. As I heard his face make contact with the floor, and that awful sound a bike makes when it ruthlessly slams into cement I took my advice and just kept pedaling. His bike landed not 3 feet from where I rode past him.  It was hard to not look back and wonder how he was, and his loud release of air, the sound one makes when they are punched in the gut, was not comforting at all knowing there was still 3 laps to go I kept my eyes on the road and the riders in front of me.
I began to notice more and more anxiety in the group so with two to go, I made the choice to get to the front and avoid any mishaps. As I moved to the front the pack was just starting to begin their 2 laps to go shuffle. They wait around for someone to go, not wanting to be the one to pull, slowing the race and making things dangerous. I used this to my advantage and got to the front and pulled hard to keep the pace up and keep myself out of trouble.


I heard one team say “mark everything”, which meant don’t let anyone make a move without following them. This would prove a bad choice, by aggressively marking everyone that moved to the front they changed wheels one too many times and, although it’s not certain who caused the crash, that horrible sound of carbon snapping was heard by me for a second time. There was a mass pile up on the last lap, two of my teammates we’re in the crash. I was on the opposite side of the crash and the crash spilled over to my side the rider in front of me fixated and went into the pile… a few others made it out. I was able to get out-of-the-way and into the chase for the few who did not slow down. I caught a few as I sprinted until the line. I placed 20th, but my teammates could have done better than that. But that’s racing for you, you have to be able to find a way to race with no fear, while understanding that crashing is an eventuality.

When my race was over so was I the fact that I had 3 hours of sleep got to me. I know a lot must improve but I am happy with what I was able to with what I had to work with.

The next morning I woke up after 13 hours of sleep.