Monday, January 28, 2019

Lookin' Out My Back Door

Yeah, that’s what it looks like when I open the back door to my garage. And there’s still a little more snow coming down. After an gentle introduction to winter, we have taken a pretty good pounding in the last couple of weeks. Now the high winds are going to kick in, which will cause this powder to drift. We’ll probably have to shovel it all over again. Then comes the life-threatening cold: a high of -12° on Wednesday, with wind chill as low as -55° before it’s all over. I think I’m looking at a lot of turbo trainer time before I can ride outside again.

But conditions will be good for snowshoeing on Saturday, so I’m making plans to check out Lac Lawrann Conservancy and Royal Oaks Park here in West Bend. I haven’t gone snowshoeing there since February 2015. Last year I used the snowshoes only once; the weather simply didn’t provide many opportunities. This winter looks like it’s going to be different. Saturday will be in the low 30s. Sunday will be warmer still, but we might get an all-day rain. Things stabilize next week with temperatures in the 20s, and that’s fine for snowshoeing. If Saturday’s session goes well, then I’ll try to get out again next Monday. I’m looking for company on Saturday afternoon, so let me know if you want to join me.

Thursday, January 17, 2019


Liberty, Liberty, Liberty … SMH! Your new television ad is so silly. If you needed a spokesman with real calf muscles, then why didn’t you ask me? I would have done it for scale, and you wouldn’t have been out whatever you paid for those ridiculous computer-generated monstrosities. According to Pearl Izumi, my 17.5-inch calves are literally off the chart:

And they never looked more glorious than in this picture:

F-ing anatomy lesson right there, and that’s 100% pure Dave!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Ain’t That The Truth?

Ellen Noble is one of the most physically fit women in the world. A winner of numerous professional cyclocross races, Noble was runner-up to Katie Compton in last month’s national championship. Currently she is 16th in the Telenet UCI World Cup, the highest level of international cyclocross. Noble is a top mountain biker too, with Olympic ambitions next year. If she’s humbled by a flight of stairs, then what hope is there for the rest of us?

I have written before about how specific it is to be bike-fit. There are plenty of people who could crush you on the bike but are hopeless in any other athletic endeavor. Back in 2010 I turned to stair climbing as a cross-training exercise. It was a good experiment, but eventually I abandoned it. For one thing, I switched jobs and I don’t think my current employer would appreciate my stairwell workouts. I work overnight now, so my after-work stair climbing would be happening during normal business hours for the rest of the staff. Mostly, though, I’m getting outside more frequently in the winter. I started snowshoeing in 2011. In more recent winters, a shortage of snow has led to more days on the bike.

This past weekend was a little too cold for a ride, so on Sunday I returned to Ridge Run Park for another 2-hour, out-and-back Ice Age Trail hike. That’s no gentle stroll through the woods, and I wouldn’t want it to be. It’s cross-training: a complementary activity designed to strengthen a couple of weak spots that cycling doesn’t reach. In challenging myself a little bit I think I have been hurting my hiking companions. I’m going to handicap myself next time by wearing a weighted backpack. It’s either that or go solo, faster.

Today was just warm enough for a ride … but not a very ambitious one. The hour I spent outside was better than the hour I would have spent on the turbo trainer. Tomorrow looks OK too. Do I dare to hope for three consecutive days of outdoor activity in mid-January? It’ll be back inside for a while after that, though, due to a cold front that will leave us in the teens by the weekend.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Presenting The 2019 Cheesehead Roubaix

The 10th Annual Cheesehead Roubaix will begin at Newburg Fireman’s Park on Sunday, April 28, at 9 a.m.  Inspired by Spring Classics like Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, Cheesehead Roubaix is a 63-mile ride that features almost 10 miles of dirt and gravel. The ride will test your fitness with rough road conditions and about 2,000 feet of climbing.

Cheesehead Roubaix is free of charge, but please consider making a voluntary contribution to the Newburg Fire Department to show your appreciation for the use of its facility. There will be a donations jar at the concessions stand before and after the ride. NFD is a small, all-volunteer department. Your generosity will make a big difference!

There will be a free, mid-ride rest stop courtesy of our friends from BELGIANWERKX. Please let us know you plan to attend so that we can ensure there’s enough food & drink at the rest stop. Join the fun at the Facebook event page, send me email or leave a comment below.

Moroder Photography will be on hand again to preserve your Cheesehead Roubaix memories. Check out these awesome images from last year!

Cheesehead Roubaix is designed for self-sufficient cyclists. The rest stop will be your only support. The ride uses only open public roads and park paths. You are responsible for your own safety and conduct, and you are expressly not exempt from Wisconsin traffic laws. Represent the sport well. Please visit the Cheesehead Roubaix website and print out your own copy of the cuesheet and map. The website also offers a data file for Garmin GPS devices.

See you on April 28!

Monday, January 7, 2019

A Strong Start To 2019

I did this route counter-clockwise for my first ride of 2019.

West Bend had a sunny, 47° afternoon last Saturday and I took the road bike out for my first 34 miles of the new year. At 15.5 mph, my average speed was nothing special. But there was still plenty of snow, ice, and wetness to avoid. Wide, open roads were fine; narrow, tree-lined roads were not. Shade is not an ally at this time of year. I didn’t take any unnecessary risks. On a route that included more than 1,400 feet of climbing, I was especially careful on descents.

I wish the Eisenbahn State Trail had been available to me, but it was not. The paved sections in the city were wet and icy in some spots, and I knew the unpaved sections outside of town would be soft from melting snow. Today’s 40-something-degree rain is going to clear away much of what remains. On Tuesday, high winds and maybe some afternoon sunshine will dry things out, but then a big-time cold front arrives and we’ll be below freezing for the rest of the week. That doesn’t create any opportunities for me, but it should make for a super fast fatbike race at New Fane this Saturday, and I’ll be there to heckle friends and acquaintances with whom I assume too much familiarity.

In the meantime it’s back to the turbo trainer. I did indoor workouts on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Combined with my road ride, that was 5+ hours of training in the first week of 2019. It’s not very structured at this early stage, but it’s a good start. And my commitment is high. I expect my 2019 racing season to begin in May—last year it began in August—so I need to be fit sooner.

Right now my weight is exactly where it was in early January 2018. That’s 6 pounds below last winter’s offseason peak, so I’ll be ahead of the game if I can maintain the status quo, and really ahead if I can lose a few pounds before a regular schedule of outdoor rides resumes in March or April.