Saturday, May 31, 2008

Motivation Post, Part 27

It seems like every year I end up making some post about low motivation... well, here's another one. I started working on this a couple weeks ago, but I didn't get around to posting it (no motivation to post the motivation post?). It's probably better off that way, the original post was even whinier than this one. Who wants to read that?!?!

Basically, the situation is that I'm not sleeping quite enough, I've got a lot of work stress and the stress of the new baby (she's actually a pretty easy-going baby, I can't imagine what things would be like if she weren't!). This means that sometimes, even when I do have time to train, I don't feel like doing it. Then I don't train, and I feel bad about it, then I don't want to race, and feel bad about that, etc. I've gotten to the point where I don't even want to talk about it anymore with people who are kind (or foolish) enough to ask me about my training.

That negative cycle is obviously not going to get me anywhere. Here's the new plan:

A. I really need to be consistent about setting (and writing down) weekly goals. For me, this is key to getting the most out of my (now limited) training time.

B. During the week, I need to seriously consider working out in the morning. This may be my best chance of getting something done, especially if I'm wiped out by the time I get home in the afternoon. This seems to be what a lot of people with kids do to get their workouts in. Consistency is really what I've lost over the past couple months, and I think consistency is the most important thing!

C. I need to get back into the (bad?) habit of spending at least a little time reading cycling and fitness blogs and forums and posting on this blog. It sounds a little silly, but it is part of getting my head back into the cycling / fitness culture. It's actually part of the reason I started this blog in the first place.

I think that getting a little consistency back into my schedule will bring about a positive change in my attitude. The reality is, even though my training has dropped off significantly, I still seem to be doing enough to be getting better. I think I could get a lot done in 30-60 minutes per day during the week, with longer sessions on the weekend.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I went out for a ride on my singlespeed Saturday afternoon, despite some chilly temperatures and occasional rain. Weekends are now prime riding time for me, and a little questionable weather isn't going to deter me...

I did what has become my typical mountain bike ride: home to Pontiac Lake and back. I don't ride the singlespeed too much on trails, and I've never ridden it on a trail as difficult as PLRA. So, it was pretty interesting.

First, on the road, on the way to the trail, I noticed that the bike is definitely undergeared (I'm running 33x17). It was a nice warmup since I really got my cadence up, but it felt pretty slow. I actually do have a flip-flop hub on the bike, and it's set up with a smaller fixed cog on the other side (33x15). The gearing would have probably been perfect, but I didn't really want to mess with flipping the wheel over, and I'm also not sure I'm ready for fixed gear riding.

On the trail, my gearing felt good. There was only one hill I had to walk (I did skip a section with a couple steep hills). I was surprised that I could really feel how much more efficient the singlespeed drivetrain is. I definitely felt like I was going faster than I normally do given my cadence and effort on the pedals. Not having all the drivetrain bits rattling around on the downhills was also nice.

Now the bad (sort of)... my singlespeed has a rigid fork and V-brakes. I also have relatively narrow tires (1.95in) running at high pressure (at least, compared to my new tubeless setup). So, it was a rough ride; I remembered why I like suspension forks. On the other hand, riding on a rigid fork regularly would probably be good for me to do. It forces you to relax and pick good lines; otherwise, your vision gets blurry and your teeth rattle out!

This ride also made me appreciate the tubeless setup I've got on my geared bike. I definitely have more traction with the tubeless setup. I'm not sure that there was a big difference in rolling resistance, but there was definitely a difference in grip.

Anyway, it was a pretty fun ride. My body held up pretty well to the gearing and the pounding. I may try to incorporate more singlespeed riding into my training. I think it would be good for those Force and Muscular Endurance workouts.

So, a rundown (mostly for me) of the things I'd consider changing on this bike.

- Wider tires. Tires are the only suspension I've got on this thing!

- Narrower handlebars, longer stem? I wasn't too happy with my position, too upright and wide.

- Better wheel nut wrench.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Break

Hockey was much better on Sunday night this week. We had more of the regulars there, so the teams were more evenly matched. I didn't score this week (although I got close, from almost the same spot), but I played much better. Last week it seemed like I could couldn't catch a pass or handle the puck to save my life. On the topic of puck handling, a guy at work pointed me to this website. The previews for his stickhandling DVD's are worth watching.

Last night was one of my only nights this week with no commitments after work, so I went out to the track to ride with the Rhinos. My plan was to go easy, since I had a lot of time (and go hard on other days this week when I don't have as much time). For the most part, I accomplished that. I didn't do the time trial at the beginning of the formal group ride, and I generally just rode around at a pretty easy pace.

At the end of the night though, we did a short race. I lined up with the "A's and fast B's", since that's really where I belong (given that we split into only A's and B's). My plan was just to sit in the whole race and not contest anything. So, the race was 4 laps, and we were in neutral for the first half lap. I ended up around 6th or 7th position when we really started, and I just tucked into the group. My plan was working fine. Rob attacked about 2/3 of the way through the lap, and no one went with him. Once Rob came back, Matt made a little attack, but he didn't get far either. The pace was gradually picking up and the group was stringing out as we finished the first lap, but it was still reasonably comfortable for me.

When we hit the hill on the second lap, Mark W and Matt went hard. It sort of looked like it wasn't going to be a big attack at first, but it was. Being the scrawny guy that I am, I got up the hill pretty fast without much effort. At the top of the hill, I looked out and saw Mark and Matt were opening a big gap. There was one other guy with them and a 4th that looked like he was bridging the gap. I was at the front of the rest of the group. Since Mark and Matt were arguably the fastest guys out there, I decided that this was probably "the move", so I buried it to try to join the break. (What was that about taking it easy?) It was a pretty big effort, but I bridged the gap. I also did the right thing in the process by not stopping when I made it to the 4th guy, who hadn't quite caught on, but by continuing until I caught the break myself. That 4th guy never did catch on. I knew I was in trouble almost immediately after I caught the break. The other 3 guys had a little paceline going, and every time someone would pull through, there'd be a tiny surge that threatened to drop me. I hung on for the rest of the second lap and for the start of the third, but I knew there was no way I was going to hang on to these guys much longer. At this point, I remembered how this was supposed to be a relatively easy day, so I sat up, pulled off and did a little cooldown in the infield.

It would have been fun to hang on to the break a little longer (although I suspect they could have ratcheted up the speed a few more notches), but I just wasn't close to being strong enough to do it. Still, it was a good way to open up the legs a little, and I felt somewhat gratified that I correctly identified and responded to the winning move, even though I couldn't really do anything once I got there.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Wow, it's been a long time since I posted. I haven't been able to do a whole lot of riding since my last post. I got in some good rides last weekend. I also had a good skate at hockey last weekend. My team got crushed, but I scored our only goal. I ended up bruising my knee pretty badly though.

This week was a real mess. I only rode on Tuesday this week (on the trainer). I took a quick trip up to Escanaba later in the week for work, so there were another couple days shot. Then, last night, I did another ride on the trainer. It's pretty rainy today, so I'll probably ride indoors again.

I'm hoping next week will be better. I'm starting to think about how to get rides in at other times during the day, either in the morning or at lunch. I'm having a lot of trouble either making time to ride in the evening, or, if I do have time, feeling rested enough to make riding a reasonable proposition.