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March, 2009:

Three into one rides posted

In an effort to bring myself back up to date with my rides, I’m combining three into one post.

A 46 mile very foggy & hilly CVX training ride #10 in the Chappell Hill area. With lots of Blue Bonnets…Check the shot with Steer standing in the flowers! Rode with Cal Hamilton my coworker and a my friend Lori Cano.

Followed the next day by a 72 mile crowded, foggy and bumpy charity ride, Guaranty Bank Tour de Houston. Again it was Cal and Lori with me on the ride.

The following weekend after that I only did the CVX #11 training ride out in Richmond. 52 miles on a gorgeous day with some very unexpected and strong wind. What’s up with all this wind this year? Cal and rode and meet Jeannie Kohoutek. Great rider! I was going to do the Blue Bonnet Metric ride the next day, but I instead took the time off and celebrated my fathers birthday!

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Thank you!

9th training ride, B-geO Magnolia Miles

Sat 3-14
B-geO Chariety Ride

I took this ride to avoid going to the Katy training ride put on by the CVX group. I hate that route and won’t do it again. So I plunked down the $25 for the charity ride out in the Montgomery area. I was going to be riding by myself. None of my regular bike friends were going to be joining me today. My plan was to do the 71 miler route. It was looking sketchy out side, very gray and the roads were wet from rain during the night.
I found the school grounds we were to start from, got my car parked and started unloading the car. I got the guys next to me to take the first shot of me standing with the bike.
The goodies for this charity ride were pretty good. We got a shirt along with one of those new recyleable grocery bags. Also a pair of biking socks! That was cool. I got my goodies and dropped them off in the car and then went back to the starting line.
It seemed like I waited for quite a while before we actually got started. They had announcments, listing of the all the sponsers of the ride, a prayer, and before all of that, the Village People, YMCA song. Too much! It was a little chilly and windy, so i guess the DJ was just trying to entertain the folks and keep them pumped!
The turn out wasn’t all that big, probably several hundred. I could be wrong though. Once we got started it was pretty nice. The first part was though some neighborhoods that eventually lead out to open country roads. Once I hit those it got hard cause there was quite a bit of wind and it got a little cold. I had also gotten new plates for the bottoms of my shoes, so if felt as if they were off on the alighment. What ended up happening is I think it put my feet to sleep. But the time I had gotten to the second and third rest stop, it was clear that I was NOT going to be making the entire 71 miles. I made the decision at the last rest stop before the no return point on to the 71mile route. I took a little video of me riding with the wind, which you can hear, and deciding that the shorter route is better.

I had gotten about 4 miles in to the last leg, when I hit glass and popped my rear tire. By that time, I didn’t care and decided to SAG it in. I waited for someone to pick me and my bike up and take us to the finish line. I was too cold and tired to even try to change a back tire flat. On the way back we drove past the house of a automotive dealer mongle in Houston. He had some crazy sculptures in there. I got a few pictures of their craziness.
Arriving back I put away the bike and changed and then made my way to some BBQ cooking that was being offered for 5 dollars. That’s a great price for the BBQ we got.

Over all the charity ride was good. I look forward to riding it again next year when the weather will be better so I can better check out the terrain. It was a good training ride, despite the wind and cold. Taking the video was great though. Enjoy!

Let me just say that facebook is having an issue right now and you can’t see the video here. It should be fixed soon. FIXED!

Continental Airlines Cycling Classic 2009

First off I just wanted to say a public thank you to all who have contributed to my MS150 donation account. My fundraising is going great!
Secondly, the MS150 Houston to Austin ride HAS NOT HAPPENED! The ride takes place in April 18th-19th 2009!
Thirdly, if you do not like getting the notifications about my training updates with a link to my website, not a problem. I can remove you off of my annoucement lists. The whole event for training for the MS150 is a 4 month event for me that represents a significant about of time and dedication for me. I just wanted to share a bit of my experience with everytone. Once the MS150 ride is over, I’ll stop sending out “announcements” about updates on my web page! Hopefully you will visit on your own.

Remember, you can donate to my fund here:
To see all my posts about my MS150 training: Click on the MS150 category tag on the right side of the page.

This year I did the Continental Classic ride as a team member. Part of my plan for the MS150 this year was to do it a bit differently from last year. I signed up as a team member with the Continental Airlines group. They are free to join, with the only stipulation is that they ask that you a) ride the continental classic ride and b) buy a continental airlines team member biker shirt. For doing that they let you on the team. The reason why this is good is for the ride. At the end of the first day you ride into the “fairgrounds” in Bastrop, Tx. It’s a huge area with these massive tents set up representing each “team”. Continental has one of the poshest tent of them all! It’s still going to noisy as all get out, but it’s a much different experience for me from last year, so I wanted to give it a whirl.

I caravaned with my neighbors, Will & Melissa, to the Montgomery High School Sports Complex, which was the same location as last year. Only this time we got there a bit late. We has miscalculated the about of time to get there, so we rolled up by the time the first wave of riders were leaving! And it was the wave were were supposed to be in!  I had signed up for the 71 mile length. We parked as quickly as we could, threw our things together and managed to get going in about 30 mins.

There were to main differences this year from last, the weather and the distance. I had done a shorter distance last year, I think the 41 mile, while this year I was doing the 71. Also it was MUCH warmer this year. In some of the self portrait shots I took of myself while riding, you can see the sweat on my face.

Couple of things: I nearly lost my brand new glasses at one of the rest stops! (Found them!) The wind wasn’t as bad as some of the other rides so far this season. I spent a lot of time on the road alone or not in any sort of pace line. I’m trying to remember to take more photos of rest stops or of interesting things as I ride along. Sometimes I do a better job than other times!

After four hours of riding, I finally rolled back in to the complex. Upon completing the ride you were treated to a free hotdog lunch. I was looking forward to my “dog”! The only sad thing was that they were out of buns when i walked up. They were just about out of food! I quickly took too weiners and just filled the rest of the plate with condiments and ate the whole thing man style with my hands. As I was sitting there on the curb with mustard on my chin, on of the servers comes up to me with a bin full of hot dogs WITH buns and he says, “We found some buns!” I took another and just as quickly consumed it!

I finished packing up and heading home. Only I had to make a pit stop at the bike store for a couple of things. One, I needed to get my bike inspected for the MS150 ride and secondly it had been a very long time since I have had a basic tune up of my bike. I also needed to replace the cleats in my bike shoes which were worn out from being walked on. I took my bike to West End Bicycles, where I’ve had good customer service. I had also gotten myself a personal bike fitting there last year. They quickly looked over the bike and said that there were no major issues, but that the chain needed to be replaced. I said okay, took my pickup ticked and planned a return for Thursday to pick it up.

Remember, if you want to help support me in raising money to fight MS, please go to my donation page here:

Hope you’ve enjoyed this latest edition of my training!

7th training ride, Fayetteville Hill Clinic

On Saturday the 7th of March, I went out to Fayetteville Texas for a hill training clinic. This was put on my the Houston Cycling Centres. A group of three bike stores in the Houston area. This is actually my second time going to the clinic. I also met up with a lot of people that I kinda know through the organization, Bayou City Outdoors. These are fun and out going people that make the event entertaining for me. Plus they give me lots to photograph! You can go to my facebook page and see all these photos with the peoples names and whatnot, but here is were I’ll spend a little time just talking about the overall event for me.

Unlike last year, this year I drove out by myself. The drive took about 1.5 hrs and it was fast and simple. Had plenty of time to listen to some of my new music I downloaded earlier in the week. At first the day was looking pretty gray and overcast. There was a bit of a chill in the air, but nothing really requiring a jacket or long pants. Interesting thing was, while I was driving up, I realized I had fogotten my biking socks. You may ask, what’s the difference? Well the biking sock is thinner than your regular old cotton sports sock. And it also wicks mosture away from the foot keeping your foot dry in that tight biker shoe. Turned out to not be a problem. The clinic folks bring lots of equipment and stuff to sell. So i picked up a pair for $10 right there when i walked it. One of my photos has a picture of the area where I got it.

The clinic takes place in a historic old building that is some sort of meeting hall. It is defitiely very cool. Very spacious inside. Granted there were probably only about 50 people there, but the hall held everything and everyone. It’s also in a great spot to quickly be able to hop on the road and get started with your cycling. Traffic is non existant.

After some morning announcements from Bob, we split off into first seminar of my choice. There were three seminars going on at once, I chose Trainer and gears. James spent mostly the time taking about gears and some ratios. Kinda technical, but also good knowledge about your bike & gears. For this we were outside in a circle mounted up on fixed trainers.

After that, the hour for the seminar went fast, I moved off to another area and was lectured about candence and speed by Cindy, another employee of the Houston Cycling Centres. She has an aggressive brash in your face style, but it’s good. This is where, based on a few of my questions, cindy gave me some tips and suggestions on how to improve my over all performance on the bike. Essentially by keeping up my cadence, I can ride more effientally, fast and longer. She also gave me tips on what I needed to do to reach that goal.

When we finished up with the Cadence seminar, it was then time to ride. The temp was just right and the skys were overcast. The only thing was that there was plenty of was wind! Gathering up my bike and stuff, i moved out to the front of the Hall and got in line to be placed in my pace group. What surprised me the most was that I was one of three people in the 16-18mph speed group. Honestly that is a little faster than what I’m used to, but i decided to push a little bit.  For our group we had two riders from the Southwest Cycling Club. These guys are hardcore and know their stuff. Super fast and very knowledgable. Bill is a 50yearold guy and Chris is twenty something. We rolled out. For the first half i rode with Bill. We talked a lot about gearing and where to be in your gears before hitting the hill and what do to IN the hill. I tried to execute it on the biggest hill in the ride, Lomo. Which IS very steep, but not too long. I think I was too excited and totally bonked on the hill. I underestimated how hard it was going to be on getting up that hill and quickly ran out of steam climbing it.

We continued on and at the half way point I changed instructor. This guy and I talked more about how to stand on the bike while climbing and when to climb up and shift on the hill. There was another long sloping hill in the second part and we repeated it three times. We finished cruzing on in back to the meeting hall.

Awaiting us there was lunch which were some sandwiches and chips. Tasty!
Following lunch was again three seminar at once and you had to choose which one you wanted to go to. I picked the Hydration and supplements one. Cindy talked a lot about carbohydrates and about how much you need while riding. It was also a seminar to discuss the vast amount of product that is on the market. Very informational for me.

By this time things were starting to slow down some. So socializing was happening and they had busted out with the adult beverages. They began the final lecture with Hunter Allen at 5pm. Basically he was talking about taking the training to the next level by using a Power Meter on the bike. These are expensive, from $1000 to $3000 depending on the manufacturer! At 5:30pm, hunger had set back in and a few of use jumped on the dinner. i got a picture of it, it was very good stuff. there was also a banana cream pie that is supposedly to die for, but I don’t like bananas!

Pretty much after dinner, I wrapped it up and got on out of there. I had 1 1/2 hr drive to get home and it was getting late. And after a big dinner I knew it was going to be hard to stay awake while driving home.

Over all my experience with the clinic is very positive. But to be honest, at this point I’m not longer a novice. I’ve done the ms150 and know how to climb hills. The clinic is invaluable for those who are new to the whole MS150 ride, but for those who are already familiar with nutrition and know how to climb hills, the return you get back from the trip is much less. It is worth it to keep you eyes peeled to see who they bring in for the “big” seminar. Allen Hunter spent pretty much all day with the folks who really wanted to know about power meters. If you are at that level, then I can see it being well worth you while! I’m sure that they will bring another worth while guest next year.

6th training ride. Brookshire/Bellville

The ride for the day seem to start off fine. For many of these rides, I have to drive out of Houston, usually about an hour. Today I really noticed the wind pushing my car around on the freeway. It was overcast, without any real signs of rain. I thought that well, at least it won’t rain, no problem.

Finally arrived at the starting location which is a familar start point. There are three major school building off of this street. And it seems that every time we’re starting from there, we start from a different school! Anyway, I get out of the car and I’m immediately buffeted by the wind. STRONG wind. Like 20mph+ wind. Sustained. These are not gusts. When it does gust it was probably up to 30mph. So it was crazy windy. Jennifer , the BCO team captain told me that she was remembering one ride last year that got canceled cause of high winds. And that she was going to check on the ride status. While I waited to hear back from her I posed with a few other BCO’ers for some pictures.

I was glad I had my new long sleeved jersey on. I eventually before rolling out even added my orange running jacket. While it wasn’t super cold, the strength of the wind MADE it cold.

Still waiting to hear from Jennifer I started getting ready and listening to people all around me delay and make the last minute decision to bail out of the ride. It was certainly on my mind. Especially as it was whipping wind all around me. I wasn’t feeling tired, but seeing the riding group get smaller and smaller, i was wondering just how many people would be left?

Then Jennifer came back with the news. The ride was still on!

I was kinda surprised, but steeled my resolved and suited up for the worst.

I missed most of the beginning announcements and the very first start wave of the fastest riders cause I was returning from one of the other school’s restrooms. Yeah finding restrooms at start locations is always a fun game at these events! I got a couple pictures off of me and one of the group taking off. It sure seemed like a small group leaving, that’s for sure.

Along with getting a new long sleeved riding jersey, i also got some new sunglasses. The are from Performance Bike, their house brand label. Reviews were all excellent, comes with four change out lenses, carrying pouch, cleaning cloth, and all for $30. Today was going to be a good day to try out the yellow lens cause of how overcast the day was. I was also so glad to have them cause of the wind. Riding without something to protect your eyes is hard. And I have contacts! These are wraparounds and also have some ventilation to keep from fogging up. Overall they worked fabulously. Best $30 I’ve spent in a long time!

Well wouldn’t you know it, today I got a flat. Hit a pile of glass on the side of the road and heard the dreaded, HISS! It had been a VERY long time since I have had to change a flat. So I just went about it methodically, albiet slowly. It was nice to hear all the questions of “need any help?” from riders as they passed by. Made me feel less lonely. The only draw back is that it put me at the back of the pack of riders, were they are the most thinly spaced out. ie – no pacelines. That was going to be a problem cause i knew for the next 10 miles I was going to be riding directly into the wind.

And it was tough. I think my average speed was 10mph for those ten miles. There is a stop light at a intersection where you are supposed to turn to continue the route. Right there I saw a lot of people gathered, and I thought, great rest stop! Turns out it was for the St. Arnold’s Brewery team! I just got off the bike for a quick second, basically took a pic of the rest stop thinking it was ours, and then one of myself, looking pathetic cause I had to ride a bit further to find MY rest stop!

Continued down the road from the turn at the light to eventually find the CVX rest stop. It was well stocked, but small. It seemed that most people were turning around at that point. The wind was still blowing but it was now coming at us from an angle. Just not as directly, kinda like a 45º angle. So it still made it tough. And I had 14 miles to go to the half way!

I elected to grind it out. The second part of the route was additionally tough with wind PLUS rolling hills. This is the route for the MS150 which I recognized from last year. I’ll tell you, it was some of the lonely-ist riding I’ve ever done. I think I passed maybe 3 people during those 14 miles, and mostly didn’t seen anyone infront or back of my for most of the time! By the time I did get to the half way mark i was pretty tired and beaten down mentally. I had no radio or person to talk to the entire time. Plus I was coming from the BACK of the pack due to the fact that I had gotten a flat early on. The half way was nice. It was at the official lunch stop for the MS150. It seemed strange all empty, nothing like I remembered from last year when it was jammed with 13000 people!

I’m pretty sure I took a full 20 min break before heading back out. It was good going back. Much much faster. For the first leg back I was averaging about 20-22mph. Rolling down hills is nice! It seemed like I had just gotten on the bike when I approached the 1st rest stop! They certainly looked cold and ready to go home.

So when I finally made the turn at the light and headed home on the last ten miles with wind blowing on my back, it was bliss. After a long day’s ride, alone, flat, and tough head winds, those last ten miles were just the easiest miles ever! Effortless. And I was doing 30mph!

Over all ride for 48miles was just over 3 hrs. That’s total ride time, not including rest stops or fixing the flat. But it did seem like the longest ride ever.

Next week I’ll be doing my first back to back. Saturday will be the Fayetteville Hill clinic, put on my Northwest Cyclery. It’s a great clinic with a short ride, but that has some of the steepest hills in the area. And then on Sunday will be the Continental Classic ride, a real nice 68 mile ride though wooded areas. I will have many more photos next time.