Riding out on Saturday I came across Alex Labora returning from his morning jaunt. He was kind enough to roll in my direction for a while providing enough time to catch up and make plans to ride Sunday’s regular ride to Gorgio’s. This ride is usually pretty spirited and with the winds we have been enduring lately the lactic acid will flow. Whether out front pulling or sucking wheel there will be little respite, no quarter for the weary.
The thought of Sunday’s effort made me rethink my Saturday mileage. I can feel Thomas’ Friday evening strength training on my legs while anticipating sixty at tempo while keeping cadence at 90-100. At Deerfield I topped off the hydration supply and squeezed in a bit of honey to fuel the Mito. I have changed my onboard nutrition towards the simple. Tea, lemon, and honey fill the bidons while a concentrated mixture inside a recycled EFS bottle is nestled in my right jersey pocket at the ready for quick refuels. The legs feel fine so the original sixty stay as planned.
The return home consisted of a series of chases as I encountered solo riders en route. These carrots help me keep the pace high while maintaining my target cadence. Road construction forced me to ride some rough tarmac laden with debris. A quick fix following a flat was executed in the shade of the mangroves lining the sidewalk. A bench makes for light work by limiting time spent bent over the wheel. Five miles later while rolling through the city the rear tire took another hit. This time a serious gash was torn into the sidewall. Application of a Knog Porno Patch to the inside of the tire and a Park Super Patch to the tube had me mounting the wheel in less than 5 min.
In a fit of hunger I pan roasted chicken breast in herbs and GI then quickly dispensed with it. My simple on board nutrition leaves me little in the tank post ride and my restricted diet does not provide for quick fixes like recovery bars and drinks. As my hunger subsides so does my aggressive sense of urgency. No time to relax, must rush to the LBS to restock on tires and tubes. I prefer the comfort of a 24mm width tire. This store had only 23mm, so after some muttering under my breath, an impulse buy has me carting home a couple of Continental Grand Prix 4000… in Yellow! I am sure the racing thoroughbreds will be scoffing as yellow is exclusively reserved for the wearer of the maillot jaune, the leader of Le Tour. “Sometimes as cigar is just a cigar”. I just like yellow.
Saturday night I changed two tires while simultaneously cooking dinner for Renate and me. Who says men don’t multitask. Dinner was delicious. The wheels look great. A quick chain cleaning completes the Mooney’s preparation for Sunday’s ride.
As it turns out, I did not wake early enough to join the group ride. Good thing too. The legs were well worn and a decision to keep the ride down to two hours was a prudent one. Still the bike looks great wearing it’s Easter’s Best.
Another Saturday rolls up on me fast. Labor Day Monday’s tempo ride was awesome and I was happy to see that my power numbers are on the rise. The balance of the work week finds me in the gym on a Wednesday night which was a prelude to a difficult and failed attempt to complete 2 X 15 minutes of Threshold intervals on Thursday. It’s a little hard to take but I am learning to let these things go.
My Friday night ritual starts with a rather intense hour at the gym. “Basic Pushing and Pulling” is what my trainer calls it.
Yes, I said trainer.
No, I am not headed for the Nationals nor do I have any delusions of grandeur.
If it were not for Thomas I would not make it to the gym consistently if at all and I certainly would not work beyond 30 minutes at the intensity we work at for a full hour. He is the best trainer I have ever contracted, knowledgeable, serious and devoted to me for the entire time I spend with him. Thomas is a quiet gentleman that leads by example rather than bark orders from the sidelines and knows when to push me hard or when to modify an exercise to meet my current fitness level. His depth of knowledge and experience affords him the capability to train a client to meet the client’s needs rather than stick you in a “one size fits all” training plan. He does however emphasize all our work outs around muscular balance thereby reducing the potential for injury and maximizing my potential for power. The excercises he encorporates are sometimes complex which makes them difficult yet all the more compelling. He the architect and I the brick layer have together built a structure that I can rely upon during my training on the bike.
Besides……despite statements to the contrary…… girls like guns
and an Andy Schleck wannabe I am not.
The ritual continues with basic bicycle maintenance. It is important that everything is working properly during a Saturday morning group ride as nothing ruins a good ride faster than a crash caused by a mechanical or being dropped for the same. The majority of maintenance one must endure is cleaning the bike and drive train. Throw in an occasional adjustment to a derailleur or brake cable and you have it covered.
I live in a high-rise condo so access to an outdoor faucet or garage to clean and maintain my machine is non-existent leaving me to maintain my bike in the living room overlooking Biscayne Bay and South Beach. To facilitate this work I set up and secure my bike on a Park PRS-20 Repair Stand , wipe her down with a Velo-shine wipe, clean the chain with a Park Cyclone Chain Scrubber and Finish Line Degreaser, and wipe the chain with a standard bar towel. I give the degreaser a chance to dry before applying Chain-L chain lube. This whole process takes maybe 10 minutes when I am focused but distractions like the finishing sprint at the Vuelta or the death of another terrorist type on Strike Back tend to prolong the activity. So I give myself a 30 minute block of time at least once a week or every 100 miles for basic bike maintenance. You should too.
This Friday I had a little extra time and energy so I laid out my kit, gear and nutrition in preparation for the morning’s ride.