Monday, September 20, 2010

The Myth Of Preparation

riders enjoying the fall rideImage via WikipediaBY: Jeff

This coming Sunday, Sept. 26, Brent and I will be doing 50 miles of the Apple Cider Century.  Here is my question. When does one truly know that they have prepared enough to accomplish their goal?  Oh we have prepared plenty!, but is it enough?  We have road several miles and hours over the summer.  We have joined group rides.  Heck Brent has even done a full marathon this year!!!

One thing that I know for sure is that we will look like  we have prepared well.  Both of us have shiny new Cannondale bikes.  New gloves, cycle clothing, newer Giro helmets.  We have nice cateye cycle computers to tell us how close how far away we are from the end of the ride.  We will look like we have done a hundred of these things!

So here is how I intend to accomplish my first half-century bike ride:

  • Do not focus on the 50 miles, just take it one Support And Gear stop at a time.
  • Try to get Brent to start talking so he slows up enough for me to catch my breath
  • Hopefully my butt will go numb after the first ten miles so that way I don't feel the pain
  • Eat and Drink a good amount at each SAG stop (1 to rest a bit, 2 that way I know I will not bonk!)
  • Draft as much as I can.
  • And most of all, Just have fun.
I know I am really looking forward to doing this ride.  Honestly I do feel prepared to accomplish the 50 miles.  Ultimately there is only one way to tell if you are truly ready for something, and that is to go out and try it!
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Monday, September 13, 2010

The Newest Fit.

By: Brent
I love running. I am really loving biking. I really love my family.
One of the hardest things about the marathon training was the 18 and 20 mile weekends. You have been working all week, over 45 hours in my case, and now you get settled for a nice long weekend and you have to head out for 3-4 hours. Kids don't get that. Other adults might not even get that. As a runner, you want to deny that. Maybe I could skip the really long runs.... fat chance. Running is a great sport. I love it. Biking is as good. Maybe better. I know one thing tricky about it is when you are out on a ride, it can be hard coming back in. You know you can cover so much more mileage, you always feel the need to add a little more distance. It's all great stuff to do but it all comes at an expense, not being home.
My oldest daughter Layla is 6 and at the age where the youth sports are really being offered. Tee ball, swimming, hot dog eating contests, gymnastics, and of course soccer. She wanted to do gymnastics. She wanted to do swimming, she of course wanted to take a cheerleading camp. Soccer took a little talking into. She agreed on one condition, that I tried to be the coach. So I said yes. Being sneaky, I signed up for an assistant spot. Little did I know, Concord Youth Soccer did not know my sneaky ways and I was the newest coach for the first grade division.
My back ground is extensive when it comes to soccer. I had a flourishing career in first AND second grade where I managed 2 successful campaigns in snack delivery at halftime. I still remember the time I actually kicked the ball DURING a game. I did watch the world cup 2010 this year when I thought about it. I may or may not have stayed at a Holiday Inn express also. "Seems like you should have more experience" you think? How about this, I bought a soccer ball to have at home! Ladies and Gentlemen, let the season begin. Whats the worst that could happen. CYS has a large meeting at the beginning of the year. I'm sure they will give out all sorts of helpful coaching tips and we will watch film and we will be overwhelmed in the knowledge that is pertaining to SOCCER.
Coaches meeting No. 1. We are handed a packet and told, go call your players. End meeting.
So with a lot of research on the Internet I have assembled (been given) 9 wonderful kids to coach. We had 4 or 5 practices before our first game. Having no idea how we rated compared to another team I was a bit gun shy. I know I have 3 solid players. You can tell. You can see it in them. I have 4 that have good aggressiveness. I have 2 that are just having fun (one being Layla).
Game 1. We get all set up. Whistle blows. Score. Score. Hmmm. This seems to be going well. Score. Score... you see how this is going. We win 10-1.
I am not going to recap every game, but we are doing REALLY well. After this weekend, we are 6-0-1. We have now outscored our opponents 46-9. This weekend we play the last place team 0-6, and we are in first place right now. We have 3 more regular season games and then the tourney starts.
As far as the fitness goes, it is as much as you want it to be. I personally am out running with the kids as much as they are. I don't think that I have seen another coach as involved as I am with the team (not that that is wrong or right) but its my personality, and honestly, I think my kids see me running and that moves them a little bit more. I have great parents, but they have not just offered to step onto the field and help out during practices so I am grabbing pylons and directing bodies and getting people here and there for the next exercise, so again, I am in motion a lot.
I never expected to have this much fun coaching it. Winning doesn't hurt the fun factor, and these kids would be 6-0-1 with or without me. Layla and I fell into an amazing team. I hope Layla plays again next year, but I can see her trying more gymnastics or swimming but for me this has been great time spent together, getting fit.
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Brent's Bike Bonanza

Cannondale Six CarbonImage by Dave Haygarth via Flickr
By Brent:
About a year ago, Jeff and I started tinkering with the idea of getting back on the bikes. Our youth, that I remember, is mostly of us getting outside and riding. Not the occasional here and there, but at all times riding. Making "race tracks" on the church parking lot with each of us remembering where the track was in relation to the parking lot lines. Biking was not seasonal. It was mandatory. Snow would fall, we would ride. We would go as far to make paths in the snow in the driveway, into the garage, and (for some reason) ice up parts of the track to make it more "fun". We even invited two of our friends over one year for a big race (that I won). We rode anything we could find, including Jeff's mom's three wheeled, basket toting bike limo. I think the only time's we got in trouble was for what we were doing on bikes. Riding through the grave yard on Hively, or digging up the grass from racing around the pool on Coolidge Ave.
When Jeff (or I) came up with the hair brained idea of trying to ride to Noblesville by bike, the biking bug exploded again. We borrowed two poorly fitting, tired, yet functional bikes from two guys we barely knew and tossed them as far down the road as we could. Our efforts came up short of Noblesville, but even factoring in the horrid weather conditions, it was a great trip. We knew then that we wanted back out on the roads riding again.
Jeff and I visited as many local shops as we could. We saw almost every major brand of bike out there. Trek, Giant, Specialized, Felt, Cannondale, Kona, Fuji, Scott, Jamis, Bianchi.... and I could go on. We visited many stores. Pro Form, Elkhart Bicycle, Spin Zone, Outpost, Albrights and again, we could go on but one brand and one bike store stood out.
Cannondale at Spin Zone. Jeff and I are tech geeks. We know by the books the details as well as any sales person. We were always approached by sales people, but at Spin Zone, Sarah made it a little easier for us to ask our dumb questions. Sure we knew the bikes by the digits, but as soon as it came down to fitting and purpose, we never thought about that.
I wanted a do-it-all bike. I want to ride a century (100 miles). I want to do Triathlons and Dualthons. I want to commute to and from work. I don't want to steal my kids college fund to buy a bike either.
The first bike I was set upon was the CAAD 9 5. I was fitted for a 60 but I fought Spin Zone's judgement and went with a 58. The geometry was okay but the ride was punishing. Jeff was in great comfort but I couldn't get over how abusive the make up of this aluminum bike was. We left and returned a couple weeks later for a Thursday night group ride. I was excited about this nights group ride. Spin Zone had assembled bike's for Jeff and I, but I had recieved a call informing me the SIX Carbon 6 I was testing was damaged in the box so I was going to be sampling a bike I had only dreamed of. The Felt F5 Team. At $2400, this was no bike to take lightly. 3T components. Fizik saddle, 105 gruppo, areo rims and a great FELT racing team graphics. It looked AMAZING. I sat upon this dream ride and with in 3 miles was ready to toss it to the gravel pit. How in the world can a carbon bike costing almost $1,000 more than an aluminum bike be no better feeling? I finished the 26.6 mile ride very confused.
Sarah from Spin Zone called back a week or so later and had brought in and assembled a bike for me. A Cannondale SIX Carbon 6 in a 58. Had it assembled and waiting for me to come test ride. A while later I returned for a ride and before I got out of the parking lot realized I made a mistake. The 58 was too small. Sarah went back in and brought out a 60 but in a model one step up. This brought me up to a 105 gruppo (10 speeds on a full double), RS10 wheel set and more full carbon specs than the model I just sampled. I set out for a fast and pleasant 4 mile ride. I left the store very happy, yet empty handed. I knew I needed to talk to some other stores, talk to the wife, and I wanted Jeff to join me on a longer test ride. After good talks with Elkhart Bicycle and Pro Form I returned with my fellow rider and his Cannondale and we went out for an 11 mile ride. We returned and made I made my purchase.
The 2010 Cannondale SIX Carbon 5 was the winner. It serves its purposes. I love the comfort. I can ride it for good distances. It is aggressive enough in the geometry to race or fit clip on bars to and do tri's. I was torn if I should wait for the 2011 but was informed the SIX model was being dropped and "upgraded" to the Super Six. The problem there is that takes away some of the comfort and sits you into the bike even more aggressively and as nice as that would be for the tri's, it isn't as great for my commuting and leisurely riding which will be more common than the tri's.
Befrore leaving the store we set the bike up on a stationary trainer and I was measured for angles and moved and asked questions about my comfort. We tweaked a couple things and Jeff and I headed back home. I have only added another 25 miles to the bike so far but I look forward to adding many more, and taking another stab at Noblesville!
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