Monday, September 26, 2011

Six Gap 2011

Another Six Gap in the books. Or better yet, on the ass and legs and lower back and shoulders and.... I will have to say that this years Gap was better than the last one which was better than the first one. I see some type of pattern developing here. Each year is a learning lesson. More training. Bigger cassettes. This year? Compact crank.

And speaking of bigger cassettes, I must send a special thanks and heartfelt gratitude to Ron and David of Brandon Bikeworks in Riverview, Fla. I had an emergency cassette situation arise three days before leaving for Georgia. Ron assured me that he would do what he could to make sure I make my ride. I felt that he went out of his way to take care of my situation. So much so that I now have a new local bike shop to call home. Not that I plan on sleeping there anytime soon. If you are in the Riverview area and need any bike needs, I strongly suggest you stop by this shop or their brother/sister shop Just Ride in Valrico, Fl.

Now back to the Gap report. As some of you may know, I am training for the Great Floridian. Dare I say it is an ironman distance triathlon. Oh wait, should I have capitalized ironman? Part of my training plan was to use Six Gap as one of my training rides. 112 miles in Clermont should have nothing on 104 miles in the North Georgia mountains. I was also going to use my road bike instead of my tri bike. I am on the fence for which bike to use for the GF. The GF bike course is pretty hilly and does not have many opportunities to be in the aero bars. I will also ride the Clermont course on my road bike a few weeks out just to be sure. And I can always clip on some aero bars.

Why is it that retro rock stations always have to include Steely Dan?

Back to the Gap. This year I decided to go with a 13-29 rear cassette on my bike to help with the climbs. Although last year I did not walk any of the climbs, it was still painful. The walking demon was right on my shoulder teasing me with painless options. I kept a 53-39 crankset. A little too pricey for a Campy compact crankset.

My riding plan was going to be about pacing myself. No drafting on others and that meant no pulling either. I stopped at each rest area to make sure I refueled and ate. I tried not to linger or dance with any strangers. As I said, that was my plan. Well you know what they say about plans and the Hustle.

The weather was great. High 50's to start and low 80's to finish. I had a throw away shirt under my jersey and some arm warmers. A tip from Walt. For arm warmers, I use these Halloween costume fake tattoo sleeves. I have used them in as low as mid 40's temps. Plus they seem to always get a few odd looks from people. Or maybe that is just me.

The first couple of rest stops I just ate some peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Refilled my bottles. One with Heed/Gatorade and the other with water. I was supposed to eat/drink every 20 minutes but that turned out to be difficult when some of the climbs were 30-40 minutes.

I felt good on some of the first few long climbs. I surprised myself when I just got in to a rhythm. Pushed my butt back on the seat and pushed. I was passing a lot of people. Much different than lest year. "I am going to start riding with you now," says my lower back at about mile 50. No worries. I have two little green pills that will hopefully entertain you for a while. Okay shoulders the greenies will visit you as well.

There is one section of the Gap where this is a 10k King of the Mountain contest. A climb of about 1,400 feet in 6 miles. Part of the climb is 11% for a mile. The toughest part of the ride is this section. There is also a rest stop at the halfway point. The problem with this rest stop is that once you leave you immediately start climbing. Yeah let those legs cool down. Needless to say I was not the KOM again this year. No shame here.

The descent from the top of the first KOM is dangerous. There are signs post warning drivers warning of the steep grade for the next 2 miles. I was going in the mid 30's with my rear brakes on and feathering the front brakes. There were riders pulled off to the side because either their tires were overheating or they were just being cautious. I also found out later that some people who had carbon fiber wheels had failures. The wheels heated up too much and caused cracks and breaks. The good thing is there were no crashes but they were done.

The last descent is from Woody's Gap. It is about 7 miles of all down hill with some winding turns. Nothing real steep but very fun if you are confident in your skills. This day I was. I averaged high 30's and also managed to reach 48 on one stretch. Having the large crank helps.

When I finished the Gap I felt so much better than the first two years. I felt good because I felt good. I have to give some of the credit to the weather. It has been so hot training in Florida that it just drains me so quick. It was good to get a century ride in with no major issues.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's Showdance Time....

Walt has given me the privilege to hijack his blog for a few postings. And now that I have his password, I shall peak in here and there and sprinkle some good words. I will give you my insight on entertainment, happenings, things that may piss me off and whatever else I feel like rambling about.

My first post will be about none other than TEXTING. That's right. The new mode of communicating. Well not so new since there is tweeting.

When did we stop talking to each other? I will admit there are times that I don't want to talk to some people and have no problem with a quick K or LMTFA.

I was out one night at a restaurant with my good friend Kirt doing some people watching. I saw this couple sitting at a table. I could not tell whether they were on a date or not. After they placed their order, she pulled out her cell phone and started texting. I mean really. What was so damn important that it couldn't wait until they left the place? She didn't look like no baby delivering person. Would it have hurt to put the phone in her purse.

What does that say about him. Is he that damn boring that she needed to have a conversation with someone else. I suppose it would be no different than him watching football while she. Well been there done that.

I know this father that has a no cell phone rule while at dinner. Whether it be out or in for dinner. He claims that has worked very well. No phones at the table. He said it is amazing how fast the kids will eat just to get back to the phones.

And texting while driving. Is it really that important to risk your life or someone else's just so you can type where you are going to be in 10 minutes. Call the damn person. It would take less time than typing.

I heard there was this man out west that lost his wife and two teenage daughters in a car wreck. Seems a guy was having an argument with his girlfriend over a misunderstanding of a text interpretation. This guy did not see the red light and plowed right in to the side of a car killing three women. He survived. At least until he was released from the hospital. He has not been seen since. Just sayin'. Is it worth it?

I will admit that I do text and also text while driving. Trying to say I do it at a red light or in traffic really gives me no excuse.

Misinterpretation of texts. I think we do this all the time. How many of you have gotten yourself in to all kinds of hot water because a text was taken the wrong way? People say you can capatalize a text to show emotions. Balogny. Simple words are just that. If that is the case then why aren't books written without punctuation. Or descriptions of surroundings or of the speakers emotions. One hell of a long text if you did that. If you don't understand the text call the person before you start finger banging the phone til you draw blood.

Read again what you type before you send. You can't take it back. Kind of gives you a safety blanket before you text out of anger. Save it in a draft for later if in doubt.

Make sure you are sending the text to the right person. Yikes. I b ther @ 7. I cnt make dnr. wrk late. Guess what happened there. Randolph was busted.

And delete your texts. Do you really need to store them for ever and a day. As a reminder? A reminder of what? Days gone by? Evidence? Do you remember what you texted me 3 weeks ago? Oh you don't. Well look right here. Do you remember now? Well you must have deleted the one that said KMA. I know these new "smart phones" are all the rage but they don't make you any smarter. You never know who is going to happen to use your phone and may see something you did not want to share.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A 20.17 success

For some reason lately, I have been looking forward to my Wednesday long runs. It seems I am having more success on the runs than on the long bike rides. Weird for me because my biking has always been stronger than my running. Funny how things change. I also think it is due to the weather and fluid intake. I am still working on that mess.

New for this week was changing from Gu to Powergel. Powergel is thinner and easier to get down once your knee deep in the hoopla. A Starship reference. I am old. I also needed to drink a lot on Tuesday until I was peeing clear. Success. Even in the middle of the night. Wish I was camping and didn't have to get up to go......

I started out my run just after 5 a.m. The temp was about 68. That was a relief compared to all the other days. The heat has been kicking my ass of late. I should start riding my bike at 5 a.m. I started running with this guy named Phil. I just met him right then. He asked me how far I was going. Twenty I told him. "What?" That is what I used to say when I first started running. I like being able to just throw out the high miles like it is no big deal. Phil told me that he just started back running after taking about seven years off due to an injury he got three weeks out from Boston. He ran the first three with me.

I ran the rest of the miles with Tiesto and Matt Darey. These guys are awesome DJ's in the category of dance/trance/techno. Great running music. And it is free on itunes. Just subscribe to their weekly podcast.

Back to the running report. I felt pretty good the entire run. I will admit their were some aches here and there but whatever. At about mile 16 I was debating on walking a little. But you see, where we run, there are these white lines on the sidewalk that mark quarter miles. I would just count them off knowing how far it was to the water stop. And water stop is exactly that. The only walking was at the water stops today. Nice.

Yesterday I was having some doubts in my head about this whole ironman thing. The crash and burns on the bike. The amount of time it is taking to train. The discipline of not eating at certain restaurants. The cutting back, way back, on craft beer. The time away. I was looking for that one word of encouragement. That repeat of a hillside talk. I do thank those that sent a good word my way.

For some reason I woke up this morning. Actually WOKE UP this morning and realized it has to be me that does the motivating. Although I do appreciate, I really do, the outside encouragement but I can't go asking for it anymore. It has to come to me or from me. And it will no longer bother me if it doesn't come from the outside. Don't want to sound whiney but I have a purpose. The spark has engulfed.

5 1/2 weeks to go.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Almost a fail.....

This past Sunday was another long ride. The plan was to ride the first two loops of the Great Floridian course and then run for about 2-4 miles.

Speedy Jan, Casey, Dave and I all showed up at what will be the start line of the GF. The morning seemed a little cooler but the humidity was still there. I led out the group for the first few miles. I pulled at about 20 mph because I felt good. I of course forgot all about that pacing thing and the 70 or so miles left ahead. I move over and then Jan takes the lead. As she is starting to pass, she says, "remember your pace." As she takes off.

The hard thing about group rides is the pacing pulling part. When you are pulling you want to try to go fast since you are the lead dog. Thinking that everyone behind you also wants to go fast. That is a mistake I have learned in the past. I should have dropped my speed early on. Shame on my as usual.

The first lap included Sugarloaf Mountain. Now it really isn't a mountain but it is a long steady climb for Central Florida standards. We all four made it up that climb pretty much together. I sat the whole time and used my lowest gear. I was giving it all she's got. We regrouped at the top by this house where the owners provide two jugs of water with cups for the cyclists during the weekends.

This is where I learned a new bike term from Casey. "Kit". Seems there was the female rider that arrived just after us. She was on a fancy bike and was wearing this matching black and pink jersey shorts combo. Also bright pink socks. I asked Casey if "kit" was for the bike or the clothes. She said the clothes. I then. Seems this woman raced for the team the she displayed over her body.

We finished the first lap together. We took a break to refuel, potty, eat and then debate. I should have picked up on the clue that during my brief potty break, the color of my pee was the color of burnt corn. Is that good or bad?

Off we went for round two. Pretty much the same as the first one but without Sugarloaf. I again for some dumbass reason started pulling. You would think that the others knew the course by now. But I am a grown damn man and could have pulled off. I pulled at 20 mph again. Once I dropped off, I then decided it was my time to do my own pace. Regardless.

The three of them waited for me at the next major intersection. This happened one more time. I told them not to wait anymore. I very much appreciated it but they should enjoy the a/c of the car soon.

Just outside of Monteverde, I was starting another climb when both my thighs locked up with massive cramps. I quickly unclipped and put my feet down before I fell over into the road. I stood there for what seemed like15-20 minutes. This was probably not good. But this time I was not calling Jan to come get me. "Suck it up" is what I would expect her to say this time around. I walked my bike up the rest of the hill. Other bikers rode by asking if I was okay. "Just a little cramping" is what I said. "I am a dumbass" is what I said to myself.

I stopped at the next convenience store and bought several bottles of cold water and a Powerade. I soon realized that even though this felt good and refreshing, I was past the point of it having any immediate benefit. Mentally yes. Physically no.

I was still able to average about 14 mph for the remainder of the ride. The last hill was the do or die hill. It was a short steep hill and only 1/2 mile from the finish. I again had to get off my bike. I did stay in my aerobars though. It's as if my bike was a walker. I felt like shit and just wanted it over with. The good thing is that once at the top of the hill, all the rest was down hill. I just coasted to the finish. I could see all three of the others sitting in the cars with the a/c on. They get out of the cars and ask me if I am ready to run now.

I stopped my bike. Leaned it against a pole. Unlatched my helmet and let it fall to the grass. Pulled my jersey off and dropped it on the ground. Grabbed a Powerade and walked right to the shower. I was beat down. Fail for this day. I was sort of glad to hear the others say that they also felt dehydrated. Maybe they were just saying nice things to me at this point.

All I was thinking was that I would have to ride one more lap and then run a marathon. Yay for me. Shit that ain't happening today if this was race day. Jan assures me that race day will be different and that it was hot out today. That is what I keep thinking.

Later that night I looked over this article I had printed that gave me a nutritional guideline for the bike during an Ironman. The only portion of that article that I passed was the showing up on time part. This is why we practice.

On a possitive note. I did have a good open water 2 mile swim on Monday. I stopped a couple of times during the second mile because my nose was burning due to the salt water. The swim seems to be the least of my worries. Oh well. A 20 mile run in the morning.

I know. I have been drinking all day today.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Guest Blogger....

I have been requested to allow a new friend the opportunity to post on this here blog. His name is Showdance Mercury. I met him several months ago at a SYTYCD watch party. Turns out we have several things in common. I told him about my blog and he said he would love an avenue to vent and share his views and observations of things in life. He told me the other day that he is finally ready to post something. I may have messed up by giving him my password but I can just change it if he gets too crazy. I told him to not name names. If he quotes someone be able to back it up. But he does have the freedom to keep you guessing.

Look for Showdance here soon.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I got on a tear there with my posts. So many so soon was driving me crazy. Well not me crazy. The two or three people that read my posts were overwhelmed. So I heard.

Updates on my Great Floridian training. I took Monday off since it was my oldest's 18th birthday. Yikes. 18 already. Now an official adult. Although, she has told me for years that she is all grown up. She was trying to figure out things she could do now that she is 18. The one thing she came up with, "I can now buy fireworks." That's good enough since I don't allow clubbing.

Tuesday morning I was going to swim and then spin. Due to lightning in the area, the pool was closed for another hour when I got to the Y. I had to spin first (boring) and then swim. I had a pretty good brick out of this even though it was a reversed brick.

Wednesday was going to be my Tackle The 20 Miler morning. Again due to weather, strong thunderstorms and lightning, I had to skip my long run for the morning. I was not going to run 20 miles on the treadmill. Not to say there is anything wrong with that. Well actually, there is something wrong with that. Have at it you freaks. I decided to run after work. I only ran 10 miles but I ran at an 8:15 pace. I will lengthen my Saturday run to 10-12 instead of the normal 7.

This morning I rode with Speedy Jan and her group. I think it was about 33 miles or so. I stayed off the back so I could stay in the aero bars. All this for race preparation.

This weekend I will do the first two laps of the GF bike course which is probably 70 or so miles. I would like to push it to 90 but we shall see. I should get a run in after the bike. This time I will make sure I have my shoes.

Hope everyone has a good weekend in whatever you do.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Weekend Success

I will have to say that I had a very successful training weekend. Here is how it ran and rolled.

Saturday morning I wanted to get up over an hour early before my run just to experiment again with nutrition. I got up just under an hour. I still drank an Ensure still knowing that I could be setting myself up for a 5k dash. I had debated on running at the Saturday start for the 10 miler but that extra 20 minutes of sleep is so valuable to me right now. I met at the Y. I started running with the faster group this time. I would like to think it is because I am getting faster. But they will tell me it's because they are deciding to take it easy today. Just who do they think they are....

I managed to average my first 3.6 or so at a 7:45 pace. Hello Ensure. I didn't forget about you. Honest, I didn't.

I then started the second leg with the fast group again. I dropped back a little because my mind was questioning what I was doing with this group. "You know you ain't supposed to be here." I fought the desire to slow and drop off the back. I ended up finishing that loop and the total 7 at an 8:15ish pace. I felt very good.

I met the group at Panera and had some good conversation about all kinds of stuff. Green Eggs and Ham reading, Frisbee is part of tailgating and how exciting someone is to be a 2 hour pacer for the Women's Half Marathon.

Sunday was my long ride. I met several guys at the Suncoast Trail. We headed out for a 78 mile ride. There was five of us and then after about 3 miles, there was four of them. They took off well above the pace I wanted to go. I again needed to keep my own pace for my GF training. I finished feeling pretty good physically and mentally. I concentrated even more on my nutrition and pace. I got back to the start and was going to run 4 miles. For some reason I felt even better when I realized I left my running shoes in my other car. Darn. I don't run barefoot. Not right now.

Only 45 days to go and the Dawgs suck. Fire Richt.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Confessions of a long swimmer

This post is goofy and short. You don't have to read another word.

Today was my long swim of 2.4 miles. Again. Back and forth in the pool. Plenty of time for crazy ass thoughts to go through my mind for 170 laps. Some good. Some bad. And some somewhere in between. Now depending on who you are and how these thoughts relate to you also depends on whether they are good or bad.

Let's go.

Well no open lanes. I see the kids are having early morning swim team practice. Eight lanes and they take up four. One lane is just being used by two kids. Must be the slow learners. I wish school started earlier.

Hey here's a lane I can possibly split. Yes she agrees. Chat session with a friend about Augusta being sold out. Off and swimming. A little bit cold to start out.

Well let's see was that lap one or two. I don't feel tardy. I think I will do spin after this. Just for 30 minutes though. That lady next to me has a weird stroke. Is she having a stroke? Guess not. Was that lap 9 or 10?

Candy-O. I need you. You know if I figure out a way to fix that pipe then I can use that on the up swing. Hey what do you know. Lap 30. Already?

Who is it that is taking it back to the old school. I sure miss hearing from my mother. What would she think right about now. Just be happy John. Lap 45. Alrighty now.

The mountain is high. The valley is low. And I am confused on my lap count now. Dang it. Is that guy in the next lane trying to race.

It's been an hour already.

Should I let Showdance write a quest post. I think I will. That would be fun to read what he has to say. He wants to cover topics like texting. Friends and futuristic hobbledegoo. I have no idea what that is but I can't wait to see.

What the hell is Whakken? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Enough already. That's it. 170 laps. I spin now. All done.