Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Suprise 40th Birthday Party

So you want to surprise me. Well, my wife and a others did a great job of it as they had a surprise 40th birthday party for me LAST Friday, eight days ahead of my birthday. I guess, if you want to catch somebody off guard, that's the way to do it!

We went out to dinner with our friends Craig and Liz and started talking about college, the fun we had, the stupid things we did. Next thing you know we decided that we needed to go out for a drink. We ended up at The Varsity, an old college haunt mind you, and they got me good as they rented out the basement and had everybody stashed away. I couldn't believe all the people that were "in" on the surprise, including my mother who I thought was coming down to watch the kids so we could go out.

It was a great night seeing many friends and family. We did a good job NOT reliving our college drinking days. We were able to walk out on our own :-)

Weekly Cycling Log - March 19 - March 25

Wow, I actually had a couple people ask where my weekly miles were. Sorry...hectic week. Better late than ya go!

19-Mar39.68Spin Class(10) + Commuting(7.24) + Hwy 19(22.44)
21-Mar76.87Laurel, NE(72.65) + Errands(4.22)
22-Mar20.04Commuting(4.4) + Mtn Bike(15.64)
23-Mar15.63Spin Class(10) + Commuting(5.63)
25-Mar52.60Meckling Loop & Hwy 12

 Weekly Totals:YTD Totals
Total Miles:215.072094.98
Projected Miles-20079103.19

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Theorizing Why Today's Ride KICKED MY BUTT!

I had a "use it or lose it" day off from work today so I decided to take a solo trek to Laurel, NE ("I'd like to extend a Laurel and Hardy handshake to our new...") Comment quiz: Name the movie that quote came from without using the politically incorrect word that follows!

For some reason, I thought Laurel was 45 miles away, and when I found out that it was only 36, I was quite relieved actually. Although I was stoked for an early season 90 miler with a possibility of stretching it into a century, there was something about this ride that didn't go great for me.

I wanted to get on the road early, say 9-9:30. It was REALLY foggy and I tried to wait it out. I finally left at about 10:10 and it was still better that 90% humidity and the temperature was around 52 degrees so I layered up pretty heavy as I hate cold combined with wet. I was fine for the first 15 miles or so, but then the hills set in. It is possible that the temp was starting to rise as well as I was starting to drag as well. When I turned back south on Hwy 15 from Hwy 12, I had a sudden realization: There are endless "rollers" as far as the eye can see. I've ridden this once before (one way) and it was a tailwind so this was going to be a challenge of Bill Cosby proportions (all up hill, into the wind, both ways).

The first 6 miles from Hwy 12 to the Hartington turn can best be described as follows: pedal, pedal, KA-CHUNK, pedal pedal, KA-CHUNK, repeat. I know you cyclists out there feel my pain. The road becomes much better at that point. It was at that point that I started to feel warm with a side of potential bonking. Being too stubborn to stop and remove clothes, I pedaled on unzipping what could be unzipped and I woofed down a Caribou Coffee Granola Bar *drools*. I still struggled. The last 10 miles into Laurel seemed to take an eternity.

At last I arrived. The last three miles I was contemplating my stopping point at Laurel, then I remembered: There is a PIZZA RANCH! I stopped there only to find out they had NO PIZZA as their oven had broken down. After contemplating the seriousness of my situation, I still purchased the buffet and ate chicken, potato wedges, and some salad.

The local guys, and strangely enough they were ALL guys, were all sneaking glances at the "freak show" that just walked into their local establishment. I grabbed my drink and chicken and headed toward a corner as to not disturb any conversations. Too late; one friendly gent had to ask me all sorts of questions:
1. Where ya from?
2. What's with those shoes?
3. Did you get wet?
4. That bridge sure is nice to have up your way, isn't it?!?!
5. Did you see the bald eagles in the hollowed out Cottonwood tree a couple miles north of Hwy 20?
They were all friendly and more than a little curious. Those who didn't ask questions, asked about me from those who DID ask questions so I'm pretty sure everybody knew all about me by the end of the meal. I was also informed by the chief interrogator that a couple of weeks ago they did a cattle drive of over 200 cattle down the same road I just rode, which explained the hoof prints on the shoulder.

Should the nice gentlemen from Laurel read this, I want you to know that I DID see the bald eagles on the way home and I do appreciate you telling me about them!

On the way home, I could sense the wind shifting. I was slowly losing my tail wind in favor of a tail to cross wind. It was still a good push and it helped me up some of the same hills that just about killed me on the way down. I made it back to Vermillion with nary a half hour to spare before the wind really did change completely out of the West and then slowly was shifting NNW so I did get pretty lucky.

Story time is over and now on to the theory of why this ride kicked my butt. Well, it kicked my butt for the same reason I chose to ride it. I wanted a hilly course to continue to build some stamina for The Gut Check and the MS Tour in the Black Hills. What I didn't realize was that the ride to Laurel and back was actually 5,097 feet of vertical climbing. I was pretty amazed at that and decided to compare this the last day of the Tour de Kota in 2005 from Chamberlain to Pierre and what (little) I rode of the MS WRATH tour in the Black Hills last fall. Here is the side by side comparison:

Total Garmin MilesFeet of Vertical Climbing
Chamberlain to Pierre101.285,168
MS WRATH48.774,863

It was pretty shocking to see that we had this kind of climbing potential so close to home (without going UP and DOWN the SAME hill OVER and OVER and...). At any rate, others might not be quite as excited about this ride (hills, no shoulders), but I'm thinking that this will have to become a staple of my cycling diet for the upcoming "classics" that I'm going to be riding!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Weekly Cycling Log: March 12 - March 18

12-Mar36.76Spin Class(10) + Commuting(5.56) +Hwy 12(21.20)
13-Mar20.86Commuting(1.81) + Mtn. Biking in Town(19.05)
15-Mar24.13Commuting(2.39) + Mtn. w/Kid Cart(10.11) +
16-Mar14.73Spin Class(10) + Commuting(4.73)
17-Mar25.52Mtn Bike(8.74) + Indoor-Trainer(16.78)
18-Mar23.45Mtn Bike(18.51) + Errands(4.94)

 Weekly Totals:YTD Totals
Total Miles:149.201879.91
Projected Miles-20078911.26

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Weekly Cycling Log: Mar 5 - Mar 11

WOO HOO!! On the road once again!!!

5-Mar20.49Commuting(4.87) + Indoor-Trainer(15.62)
6-Mar20.70Indoor-Dome(15.64) + Commuting(5.06)
7-Mar24.37Spin Class(10) + Commuting(3.98) + Indoor-Trainer(10.39)
8-Mar22.96Indoor-Dome(19.57) + Commuting(3.39)
9-Mar23.53Spin Class(10) + Commuting(13.53)
10-Mar45.28Errands(2.89) + Elk Point & Bridge(42.39)
11-Mar66.24Elk Point Jefferson & around

 Weekly Totals:YTD Totals
Total Miles:223.571730.71
Projected Miles-20079024.42

Saturday, March 10, 2007

On the Road Again....

Oh my did it feel good to get out on the road bike today! Between 52-54 degrees and the only little issue was a fairly steady wind at 12+ mph. Our resident self-proclaimed "old guy" Jim W. and a newcomer to the club Eric J. went to Elk Point and back with me and it was a good ride. Being the guy with all the trainer miles in, I decided to be nice and be the engine on the train all the way to Elk Point allowing Jim and Eric to hide behind me. We took a nice easy pace on the way home and overall it just felt good to be out again! I took an extra 10+ miles out to the bridge and back for that very reason.

I think I am going to set my Garmin to not auto pause. The difference in mileage between my Garmin and my Cateye Astrale was .5 miles. It's always a little different, but that seems a touch high.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Excel 2007 - Charting Issues

Hi, my name is Kevin and I'm an Excel Geek (Hiiiiii Kevin). There, now that we got that out of the way, I have to tell you that I like the new Excel 2007. However, when I tweaked a graph that was originally made in Excel 2003, it now renders AMAZINGLY SLOW. It takes OVER A MINUTE for the chart to come up. The chart is a daily point graph of my projected miles for the year. You see, I'm a visual person. I like charts. But is seems ridiculous that this is taking this long. Anybody else out there using Excel 2007 and having this issue?

***UPDATE*** Found the issue. Unless you have an INCREDIBLE amount of RAM, don't make your drop lines do funky things like change colors. I made them a solid color and it is MUCH happier now! Still not completely sold on Excel 2007 though!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Weekly Cycling Log: Feb 26 - Mar 4 & The "Other" Streak is Over

The "other" streak is over as I didn't ride yesterday at all. 11.5 hours in a car and a couple more out with the wife and I was easily persuaded to watch a movie when I got home instead of riding. 62 days of 20+ miles is officially over.

26-Feb28.56Spin Class(10) + Commuting(3.83) + Indoor-Trainer(14.73)
27-Feb27.61Commuting(3.32) + Indoor-Trainer(24.29)
28-Feb24.89Spin Class(10) + Commuting(3.17) + Indoor-Trainer(11.72)
1-Mar22.04Commuting(3.86) + Indoor-Trainer(18.18)
3-Mar20.71Indoor-Trainer(17.82) + Commuting(2.89)

 Weekly Totals:YTD Totals
Total Miles:144.541507.14
Projected Miles-20078872.68

Friday, March 02, 2007

One Streak Over - One Still Going

This morning at about 7:45 I was in search of my leg warmers as the conditions outside were deplorable. The wind was blowing in excess of 30mph and it was snowing lightly on top of our already nasty roads. But I was still going to do it, I was going to ride to work! Then the phone rang: It was my good friend and fellow rider Cindy checking up on me and asking if I wanted a ride. I toyed with saying "no" because of the streak that I keep on the blog, but then I decided that the offer was too good to not take.

When Cindy picked me up she said that she had called Joe to see if he wanted a ride but he was still in "barely functioning" mode and he rode in later to make me look like a bigger wuss than I already felt like. BUT, considering the interstates are closed and no travel is advised anywhere, I can deal with it. And so, my 48 consecutive days of riding to work are officially over.

However, on another note, another "unpublished" streak of mine is still going strong: I have ridden at least 20 miles every day this year (60 days!). I'm sure that once I get going with longer outdoor rides that will end as well, but I'm trying to stay fairly consistent. Speaking of which, I need to quit blogging and start cycling to make it 61!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Monthly Mileage Update

MonthTotal MilesAve/DayTraining MilesCommuting Miles