Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ah Do Nod Hab A Code

Okay, my cold isn't that bad but it's bad enough that I skipped swimming today and I'm not taking the bike on our Thanksgiving trip. Hopefully I can take a nice, leisurely 10-mile ride here on Sunday. Gotta get better, though.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Nice Ride, For a Change

What a weekend! First off, Thursday's workout was harder than I thought as it seems to have triggered an, as I call it, exercise-induced cold. That's when you exercise so hard that if there is a cold bug within a 30-mile radius, it will find you. Add to that the fact that I didn't bring enough food to work on Friday (hey, if my kids want to get into my banana stash, I'm not going to discourage that!) and you have the makings of, at least, a mild cold. I went to bed early Friday night because I wanted to wake up at 5:30 Saturday morning for a 20-mile ride at 6:30.

Woke up Saturday and still had a trace of the cold. So what did I do? I rode, of course. It was a pretty good ride, my first longer ride with the new clipless pedals. All went well and I went straight from the bike ride to a shower and shave (with a quick detour to my training log at BeginnerTriathlete.com) because I had to take my daughter to a concert in downtown L.A. I did manage to eat my post-workout food and drink, though. After the concert, we went to the L.A. Auto Show because my girl likes to sit in vans and Hummers. I could feel my body wanting food and liquids the whole time so I kept fueling up the whole day. Definitely went to bed early Saturday night...

...because I had a 25-mile ride to do on Sunday! This was on a brand new route and it was just going to be an easy ride. It started out well, except I thought it was a bad sign that the street that had been marked as having a bike route on the L.A. Bike Map had its bike route lines removed. Oh well, it was early on a Sunday morning, which meant few cars on the road and few people pulling away from the curb. After a while, a bike route with lines showed up just in time for a short hill that seemed to go straight up. I actually had to stand in the pedals because that was the only way to keep the bike moving (I now see what they mean about non-clipped pedals possibly causing injuries when your foot slips off going up a hill). Even then it was very slow going. Like I said, short hill and there was a very long downhill on the other side. That was the only hill where I lost my breath; on the others I just downshifted and took my time. As I was heading up Balboa, past an area damaged in one of the recent fires, listening to a woodpecker whacking a tree, it occurred to me that this was the first bike ride I have taken since I started this triathlon training that I could actually enjoy. Usually I'm trying to see how fast I can go or working on not being such a wuss up hills. This ride was all about taking it easy. I can get used to that. After I order a heavy duty case for my iPhone I will add some pictures to this route's map and post it here.

Heading up to my parents' house for Thanksgiving this year (first time in several years I'm not making Thanksgiving dinner!). I have a route planned for the visit up there. However, going out in this morning's bit of cold has me wondering about that decision, since it's several degrees colder there and I don't have much cold-weather gear. I'll probably just dig out my gloves and add an undershirt to my clothing and it will be fine.

Oh, it looks like I will be doing the Merced Triathlon next October. A friend from high school told me he'd enter it if I did. He wants to do what they're calling the short course sprint (400y pool swim, 6mi ride, 2 mi run). I can do that.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Water Makes Me Tired

Had quite the tiring workout in the pool today. I could tell during the warm-up that the distance swim wasn't going to happen today and I was right. I did manage to get in 2 200s, though. I did that last, hard 50 before the warm-down in 37 seconds, which is my fastest time so far. Put me on a block and if I managed a flip-turn I bet I could break 30 seconds (again, great for an 11-year-old). Still, I'd like to do it from within the pool. Gimme another month. Managed to squeeze in 1600 yards altogether; 100 more than usual. Was very tired at the end. Makes me wonder if I should be pushing myself so hard. Tonight I will be starting a new book I bought on swimming so I hope I will find out.

FWIW, here was today's workout. It is pretty typical:

2x50 warm-up
4x50 on the 1:30
1x100 on the 2:30
4x50 on the 1:30
4x50 on the 1:30
1x100 on the 2:30
4x50 on the 1:30
Fast 50
50 warm-down

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Burn, Baby, Burn

I have built up a decent level of fitness by cycling and swimming the past few months. Not great, but okay. However, I have a few months to go before I start jogging in February. The main reason for holding off until February was so I could drop some weight to make running less stressful on my joints. The weight is starting to come off but not fast enough. It occurred to me today that I really need to up the fat-burning now before February gets here. I don't know how much fat is being burned from swimming--I'm guessing a bit but because the workouts are only 40 minutes, it probably is not much. That leaves cycling. Fortunately I live in Southern California, which means I can cycle outdoor year-round. Working with the Los Angeles Bike Map and the Bicycling.com Map Maker I now have, in theory, 10-, 20-, 25-, 30-, and 35-mile rides all mapped out. That should do for the next few days :-). I'm thinking I have to be doing over 2-hour rides to really get the fat-burning going. I will be getting some hill work in, enough for the race courses I am preparing for, at least. I can always do more hill work later but I have to work on the weight reduction now before I start running.

As I ride the new routes and make any adjustments I will post the maps here. They might even have pictures with them, who knows?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

To Flip Or Not To Flip?

Had a great swimming workout (1500 yards) in a lane by myself, finally. My long swim went 400 yards (with more left in the tank), which was the goal for December so swimming is looking great. Even did a 200 later in the workout. My fast swim at the end was practically a sprint. I'm thinking about trying flip turns again. Maybe Thursday's workout will be mainly turn work. I just know I'm going to be a dizzy mess, which I am definitely not looking forward to.

I've been playing with Bicycling.com's route mapping tool. I have some fun routes in store. Did you know it is theoretically possible to ride a bike from Bakersfield to Madera, CA in a day? Something to file away for another year.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Out of the Fire and Onto the Sidewalk

The Pasadena Marathon was cancelled this morning due to the poor air quality caused by all the fires in the area. I woke up at 4am, didn't see any email (it wouldn't arrive for another nine minutes), took a shower and shaved, then checked the email again and saw the announcement. Bummer. What to do with my day now?

Time to get some clipless pedals.

I was going to get them at Bicycle John's but they're not open on Sundays so it was off to Montrose Bike Shop. The fellow waiting on me was very helpful, explaining about the shoes and figuring out that I really wasn't looking for high-end stuff. He even hooked the bike up to the trainer so I could get used to working with the pedals and shoes. Good thing, too, because as soon as I got out of my front gate I managed to fall down :-). Like I tell my children, though, mistakes are one of the ways we learn so I got back up and continued on my short shakedown cruise: pedal a bit, un-clip, clip-in, other leg, repeat. No more crashes. Things are looking good for next week's rides.

Gosh. Bike shorts, jerseys, and clipless pedals. I almost feel like a real cyclist. 20 mph average on the loop, here I come!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Ride Before the Ride

The Pasadena Bike Tour starts at 6am so I woke up early this morning to do a 6am ride, just to see what the weather's like then. Fortunately we're having a heat wave so the weather was perfect. Unfortunately, my quick 10-mile ride turned into a 15-mile ride because of a fire in nearby Sylmar which, once again, closed off part of my route so I had to turn around. Oh well:

Another reason to do a short ride was to check out my bike after its tune up at Izzy Cycles. Good thing I did. One of the things I asked was that they look into problems I was having shifting down into a couple of gears in back (sorry, I'm still a noob at these things). They fixed that but did they have to maladjust the front derailleur to do it? When I picked up my bike I also picked up a Crank Brothers M-10 multi-tool for the bike. Good thing I did. Right off the bat I found the chain rubbing up against the derailleur and I couldn't shift enough to fix it. Hop off the bike, break out the M-10, adjust the derailleur (I knew those screws adjusted it somehow but I forgot exactly what), then hop back on. All was well until I went down my first hill and shifted up to the big chainring and found that that rubbed the derailleur, too. Hop off the bike, adjust the other screw (now I know what they both do), then hop back on. Maybe it's not that big a deal but I have to wonder if it's like Van Halen and brown M&Ms: if they actually made the derailleur adjustment worse, what else did they do or not do?

Picked up my packet for the bike tour. I even geeked out and bought a special jersey and socks for the event. Sorry, couldn't help myself. However, the fires in the area have people concerned so we received an email from race officials saying that the race is still on but that they will send out email in the morning with the latest status. I'm making sure I have everything ready before I head off to bed early for my 4am wake-up.

I am going to try and take pictures with my iPhone during the ride, which means live updating. If I do, you will be able to find them here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

No Pasadena Triathlon

After thinking about it, I have decided not to enter the Pasadena Triathlon. Do I really want my first triathlon to be a reverse, meaning I won't learn anything from the transitions or pacing or anything? The answer is "no". Maybe in 2010 for fun.

Still riding the Pasadena Marathon Bike Tour this Sunday, though. My volunteering was moved to handing out medals at the finish line. It might change again since it's supposed to be really warm on Sunday.

I couldn't swim on Tuesday because of work but I did today and my workout sucked. 1200 yards. Managed 2 200s. Maybe there is something to more frequent swim workouts after all. Wish I could do them. Can't, though.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Gran Fondo San Diego

Had a good swim today. 1400 yards with a 350 thrown in. Did my 50s on the 1:30, meaning only 45 seconds of rest. Whew.

Came across the Gran Fondo San Diego. Its a 100mi or 100k fun ride (there's also a 40k family ride) and it does look like fun. March 1, 2009. I haven't registered yet but I am definitely keeping my eye on it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

20 Down, Heading Towards 30

Did my first 20-mile ride on Sunday and it turned out to be pretty easy. I bet I could have gone 30 miles but I need to go up gradually. I went up my two hills and when I got out of the saddle I only had to sit down once each time. That's progress. I even did a warm-down by riding a couple of miles with my daughter after I finished the ride. Looks like I'm definitely ready for the Pasadena Marathon Bike Tour. It's starts at 6am on the 16th, then I join other volunteers at 10am handing out medals at the finish line of the marathon itself.

Bicyling Magazine has this neat route map creator where you can easily map out a run, bike, hike or whatever. Once you're done it calculates distance, elevation gains and losses, and you can share your route with the world. Here is my usual route:

Later that day I went to Izzy Cycles in Sunland. They've been there for about a year but I haven't needed to get into bike gear until recently so I never went in. It's a nice little shop. Not too much to shop for, though I did buy a copy of Road Bike Action Magazine, which I hadn't seen before, and I did see a little toolthing for later. I'm thinking it could be the place to go for repairs. John recommended a twentysomething-mile route that I may just try in a few weeks. It has an incline that is much bigger than what I am used to so it should be quite an experience...in pain. Look for a report in the future.