Sunday, June 17, 2018

Birthday / Father’s Day Treat

When I was a kid, I hated the occasional sharing of my birthday with Father’s Day. It was my birthday. It wasn’t meant to be shared, and it especially wasn’t meant to begin with two hours on my best behavior at church in my most uncomfortable clothes and shoes.

Today I did something very different: a 90-mile ride through the counties of Fond du Lac and Green Lake on roads and rec trails I had never seen before and in the company of two gentlemen with whom I have only seldom had the pleasure to ride: Sam Tobias, Director of Fond du Lac County Park & Planning, and Derek Moran (Gryphon Velo Racing), one of my rivals during the cyclocross season. The Mascoutin Valley State Trail, the Northwestern Trail, Dike Road, and the extraordinary White River Road—5.5 miles of uninterrupted gravel goodness through the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area—were just some of the highlights on the route. Derek was aboard the gravel bike that served him well earlier this month at the Dirty Kanza; Sam and I were aboard traditional cyclocross bikes. Today’s route was crunchy by design, not a place for 700x23 tires. We still averaged 17.1 mph in 90° heat … not bad. Full disclosure: my partners would have been faster without me! But any way you slice it, this was solid training for all three of us.

I finished this week with 236 miles in 13.5 hours. That’s easily my busiest week of training so far this year, and you’d have to go back to August 2017 to find anything like it. So, next week probably will be less ambitious as measured both by miles and by time. Right now the weather forecast shows a lot of rain, plus a couple of days whose temperatures could have me reaching for the arm warmers again. I will let the weather dictate my ride plans.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

West Bend’s New Group Ride

There’s a new group ride in town! The ride began yesterday and will take place each Wednesday at 5:15 a.m., leaving from the old train depot in downtown West Bend. The organizer, Scott Schultz, says rides will be approximately 20 miles long with an average speed of 16-18 mph. Here’s what yesterday’s ride looked like:

Visit the ride’s Facebook page to see all the details. Scott says if this ride proves successful, other rides may follow.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Author! Author!

Don’t look now, but Yours Truly, a somewhat reluctant member of the bicycle advocacy community, has co-authored an article in the current edition of the Wisconsin Bike Fed’s quarterly magazine. Willie Karidis of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy asked me to share what I know about the effort to link the Eisenbahn State Trail and the Ozaukee Interurban. I felt a bit too restricted by the word count I needed to hit, but the most important details survived. And I expected the biographical stuff to appear separately rather than as a concluding paragraph, but otherwise the article turned out OK. Check it out.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Answer The Call

If you want to have cycling events in Washington County, then you have to support cycling events in Washington County. I’m signed up for course marshal duties for the Tour of America’s Dairyland race in downtown West Bend on Monday, June 25. Join me. Fewer than half of the volunteer spots have been filled so far. Please sign up and encourage your friends to sign up. You don’t have to know anything about bike racing; there are many different ways to help.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

My Most May Miles

Keep reaching for new heights.

Thanks in no small part to a miraculous run of summer weather in a month that doesn’t usually produce it, today I set a new personal record for miles in May: 757. That breaks the old mark of 750 miles, set in 2009.

My all-time highest monthly total is 1,020 miles, set in July 2011. I’m in no hurry to beat that record. I remember how fried I was at the end of that month.

I don’t feel overtrained today despite 10 straight days in the saddle—331 miles in 19.5 hours—but I will allow myself a little rest this weekend. I might devote tomorrow to yard work and Saturday to home improvement projects. And June? Right now I don’t have any goals. That’s not good, but I’ll think of something. It won’t be all about the mileage, though. My June record is 816 miles, set in 2015. Instead of shooting for 817, maybe I’ll schedule some structured workouts and build a routine that emphasizes short, hard efforts during the week, then longer and more leisurely rides on the weekends. I still have several rec trails to explore, and those would be more fun in the company of friends.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Hot, Hot, Hot

It was a remarkable Memorial Day Weekend in West Bend: 3 days of record-breaking temperatures in the 90s, abundant sunshine, and not-too-bad winds. In the week that ended on Sunday, I racked up 194 miles and almost 11.5 hours of saddle time. It was my highest volume of training so far this year.

On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I rode in the company of friends. Today I did 2 hours solo to get the new week started. I still have a shot at my all-time mileage record for May. I need 99 miles in the next 3 days. Looking at the weather forecast, I’m not sure I will make it. Tomorrow’s another winner but Wednesday and Thursday come with a pretty high risk of rain. I might just suck it up and ride in the rain if I’m close enough to my PR.

It could be another 3 months before my first race of 2018—this year is mostly about cyclocross, with just a couple of other events thrown in—so right now I’m using mileage and saddle time for motivation. But my base is solid and I’m ready for a little more structure in my workouts … and I probably should start hitting the mountain bike trails in June. I haven’t been on singletrack yet this year.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Highway Robbery

I took a big financial hit today. My 2003 Dodge Caravan—which, in fairness, has been a pretty solid vehicle since I acquired it from my in-laws in 2013—developed a major coolant system leak. And, of course, most of the damage was tucked far behind the engine, so most of the repair cost was the labor required to move good stuff out of the way to access the bad stuff. But there was no question about fixing the vehicle. It had to be done, and it had to be done immediately. Fortunately, I had enough cash reserves to pay for the work; I don’t need any new credit card debt. But my bank account won’t recover fully until August … assuming there are no more surprises.

I rely on the Caravan for my daily commute and to take me to bicycle races. (It doesn’t get great gas mileage, so it’s better at the latter than the former.) Draining my cash reserves to cover this big repair bill could affect my cycling plans. I had been considering a new cyclocross bike for the upcoming season, but that purchase is doubtful now. And some tempting summertime events might remain nothing more than temptations. I need to ensure that I can pay for my cyclocross season. If there’s money for anything else, then that will be a bonus.