A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Are You Ready to Rock? Jonny Rocker and I Just Registered for Ride the Rockies!

UPDATE 3/4/17: WE'RE IN!

Are you Ready to Rock? My brother Jonny Rocker and I just registered for Ride the Rockies 2017! Now the waiting begins. We will find out March 3rd whether we are chosen in the lottery. RTR is capped at 2,000 riders but I have gotten in every time I have registered (knock on wood). 

I've been following several of the Quick Cycling Workouts for Power and Endurance from Bicycling.com: 
"This is gonna hurt. But it'll be worth it. These innovative interval workouts will make you faster and stronger--by next month."

Well, I've been integrating the Flying 40s and Ten Speeds into my workouts on my CycleOps Fluid2 indoor trainer for about five weeks now. Am I faster and stronger? Well, I rode 15 miles on my trainer in under 40 minutes (average 22.5 mph) for the first time ever about a week after introducing these workouts into my training! So yeah, it seems to be working.

Here is the workout I did today:

5 mins warm up
10 x Flying 40s (40 seconds at 80-90 RPM, 20 second recovery) 
5 mins recovery
10 x Flying 40s (40 seconds at 80-90 RPM, 20 second recovery)
5 mins recovery
10 x Flying 40s (40 seconds at 80-90 RPM, 20 second recovery)
5 mins recovery
10 x Ten Speeds (10 seconds at 100+ RPM, 20 second recovery)
5 mins cool down

60 mins total, averaging 20.5 mph

And they're right. It hurts, but it'll be so worth it when Ride the Rockies rolls around in June.

Ride On!


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

So Far, So Good **Knock on Wood**

My winter training is going well. **knock on wood** Following Cycle Oregon in September, I maintained a good base of around 200 miles per month in October and November. I kicked it up to 300 per month in December and January (all but 22 miles of which were on my indoor trainer) and am on a pace to hit 250 in February.
Click to Enlarge
My body seems to be holding up well. I have kept the winter weight off. So far, so good. **knock on wood**
Beef provides 38% of your daily value of zinc, a nutrient that helps build a healthy immune system.
Somehow I have avoided getting sick when everyone around me has been sick -- even after spending a week with more than 9,000 of my closest friends from around the country in the biodome that is Opryland. **knock on wood**
One of my closest friends in the beef community -- the one and only Suzy Sirloin!
For some reason I have been using that phrase a lot these days. That's a good sign. It means things are going well. As I have learned in writing this post, the reason you "knock on wood" is to summon positive spirits from the trees. Works for me!

Right now I need the positive spirits to be with me and Jonny Rocker -- that we get picked in the Ride the Rockies lottery! Our plan is to register with my good friends from Team Bar2Bar -- Hankster, Peanut, Woody, and Flip Flop Jenny -- meet up in Salida (the end city) and ride to the start in Alamosa (an 80-mile day). 

Of course, we have to register first, but we have until Sunday, February 26, at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time. Until then...

Ride On!


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Ride the Rockies 2017 Route Announced; Welcome New Ride Director Renee Wheelock!

The annual Denver Post Ride the Rockies cycling
tour will visit the southwest part of Colorado for
the first time since 2013 (click to enlarge).
The 2017 Ride the Rockies route was announced Saturday night at a party in downtown Denver. Registration for the lottery is open until Sunday, February 26 at 5:00 p.m. MST. 

I wasn't able to attend in person this year as I was coming off a five day trip to Nashville that left me feeling as sore and exhausted as if I had just finished a week-long ride (It's no wonder, considering I took 51,608 steps covering 20.7 miles in five days at the Annual Cattle Industry Convention!). Actually, I could have gone straight from the airport to the party but the call of my own bed was strong and I went straight home and was sleeping soundly before the party ended. 

I woke up thinking about the route announcement and checked my phone. As I was hoping (and predicted in a blog post I wrote on the plane to Nashville, but forgot to post!) the route is returning to the southwestern part of the state. I was also hoping for a kinder, gentler route than the Chandler Smith-era RTRs (Smith announced his departure last July following his 10th Ride the Rockies). 

When Smith took over as Ride Director in 2007 the routes got exponentially tougher, punctuated by ridiculously long days with massive elevation gain -- like the time in 2014 he took us 88 miles and 8,800 ft. from Boulder to Winter Park (followed by a 95-mile day) or in 2015 when we rode 96 miles with 7,631 feet of gain from Grand Junction over Grand Mesa to Hotchkiss

The 2017 route will provide me with another photo opportunity at the Bay of Chickens on Blue Mesa Reservoir in the Curecanti National Recreation Area:)

Chandler seemed to be trying to weed out recreational riders like me (who only put in 3,000-4,000 miles a year!). He put riders in dangerous situations -- like summiting 12,000 ft. Berthoud Pass after noon in a thundersnow storm -- and a 15-mile stretch of deep gravel in the middle of an 85-mile day. I’m glad he moved on. Time for a change. As I said in the post I failed to post:

"It’s time to return to the good ol’ days of tough but reasonable routes, recovery days following the brutal ones, days that don’t leave you so wiped out that you don't have enough energy to get out and party it up with the locals. Come on, RTR, you can do this. I’m counting on you!"

I think the new Ride Director, Renee Wheelock, has delivered! Advertised at 477 miles with more than 32,000 feet of gain the 2017 route is no Sunday afternoon ride in the park, but it includes a nice mix of long, tough days and shorter "recovery days" including a 39-mile "loop day" in Durango. As Wheeler said in today's Denver Post:

"We get quite a bit of feedback that participants enjoy a loop day, and some people enjoy taking that day off. Durango has a lot to offer in the way of stuff to do. The miles are short enough that people can get out and ride and enjoy."

I also prophetically hoped the route would include Ouray, saying in my unpublished post, "I've never ridden through Ouray. It would be cool to see a new town on the map." 

An amazing shot of the spectacular
and dangerous Red Mountain Pass.
Sure enough, the route includes the stretch of road known as the Million Dollar Highway from Silverton to Ouray through the San Juan National Forest. This day features three mountain passes, including Red Mountain Pass (elevation 11,017), known as one of the world's most spectacular and dangerous roads!

The opportunity to ride the Million Dollar Highway pretty much seals the deal for me. Throw in Wolf Creek Pass to Pagosa Springs, Monarch Pass (the highest point of the ride at 11,312 ft. above sea level) and the finish line in Salida and this looks to be an awesome ride.

Sold. I'm planning to register for the lottery. Who else is in?

Ride on!