Saturday, February 28, 2009

February Wrap Up

Aside from the head cold, February's been a good month and I've met my expectations. Tonight, I did one more ride to wrap up the past week with 6 days of riding, a total of 123.94 miles. For the month, I rode outside 4 days/144.46 miles and inside 17 days/355.84 miles, a total of 500.30 miles. As hoped, I bagged my first thousand for the year and am currently at 1,050.34 miles in all. Here's the updated chart of my miles distributed by week.

I've started reading the book by Burke shown in my last post and so far I'm finding it very good. It's so clear and answering a lot of the questions that I've had. Hopefully a bit of study will give me a clear idea of what I need to do when I want to maintain and what I need to do when I want to increase intensity. I guess I'm looking for some reassurance that I'm doing the right sort of things in a sustainable way, or learn what to change. Also, I need all the ideas for drills and exercises to try. It's still all about having fun though! I just like to challenge myself!

Friday, February 27, 2009

New Reading

I had a rest today and spent my 'bike time' at the bookstore to treat myself to a couple of books I've been wanting. I have fun generating and looking at all the data from my rides: the Garmin with HR outside and the computrainer with power, etc. inside. I'd like to understand it more and learn how to use it effectively. I think developing a bit of a plan will be motivating and probably good for my health as well.

If you have any advice or can refer me to other good books or online sources, please let me know.

It's something I'll ease into. I know I'm not going to make sense of it all overnight! And I'm prepared, if it gets too complicated, I can take breaks and stare at fashion pics or food for awhile since I got a couple of 'fluff' items too ;) I've been in the mood to cook lately and try some new things. Anyone else crave dark leafy greens and other vitamin rich foods this time of year more than ever? I can't get enough baby spinach lately!

I keep thinking I'm at the end of the cold, but it just lingers on. Everyone who has had it says the same thing. It's more annoying than painful at this point, just pressure in my head. Guess I'll just take it easy a bit longer.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Last Week

I did 5 days of riding and 100.90 miles all on the trainer this past week. I decided to take Friday and Saturday off to rest and try to recover from the cold I'm fighting. Yesterday was actually my worst day and I napped, read all of my new Peter Robinson book and watched the AToC. I think I'm feeling a bit better today, so hopefully I'll be healthy soon!

As if the head cold wasn't making it hard enough to breathe, Silas stupidly charged a skunk last night and stinks! He feels sheepish and insecure since we aren't petting him, so he wants to be as close as possible for reassurance! Ack! Luckily Saffy was sensible and did not get sprayed.

I'm looking forward to the last Stage of the AToC today, but am afraid I will go into withdrawal when it's over!

Friday, February 20, 2009


I've been trying not to have a pity party during my cold, but it does get tiresome to be sick and who doesn't like presents to help feel better? Therefore, it was extra fun to get my new shorts and jersey in the mail from Team Estrogen today. The free post it notes will be useful too. Both items are good, so I might order a couple more sets in a week or so. (Definitely want to relegate my older shorts to trainer time only, just in case they are getting thin!)

Jeff brought this chocolate bonbon home for me at lunchtime. Under the crunchy chocolate coating was a very chocolaty brownie-like cake. Yummm!

After lunch, we ran out to the bookstore to pick up a brand new book by my favorite author out this week. I have to try to take more than 1 day to read it and be sure to savor it. I love a good police procedural mystery!

Otherwise, I have been glued to AToC TT on today!

Monday, February 16, 2009


Good news is that my left knee has recovered from the fight with the ottoman! Boy, do I feel foolish when I get hurt doing something as mundane as trying to put my feet up to watch TV! Bad news is that I have the dreaded head cold that's going around. I feel like I'm going around in a bubble, quite disconnected. Therefore, it was rather amusing to me that I was on the computrainer for the last hour of AToC Stage 2, doing a small climb when the tour riders were ascending and then descending 'with' them as well. I had the computrainer window on the laptop screen and I had the cycling.TV window on the TV screen. See the devil?

Silas watched a few bits of the race, but both dogs were pretty underwhelmed as usual. Saffy alternates between sleeping and staring at my right foot going around like she is mesmerized.

I'm going to try to keep up with little trainer rides while I'm feeling crummy. The legs actually don't feel too bad though everything else aches and the AToC coverage definitely helps with motivation.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

This week, I got used to fastening my bike to the computrainer (we have to switch between my bike and Jeff's bike), warming up the trainer (miles I don't count!! gasp!!!), calibrating it and then starting the software for the course I want to do. It sounds like a lot of work when I write it out, but it really doesn't seem like it. I've already gotten quick at it, even after just a week.

In case you are familiar with the computrainer courses and wonder which ones I've been doing, so far they are:
Whidbey Island Recovery
imn_outfortyk (not sure what that stands for)

I've also done Killington at the shop and downloaded it to use at home too. Jeff did it here the other night.

Speaking of downloads, there are so many free course downloads! The ones I'm really looking forward to trying soon are the time trial stages of the 2008 Tour de France!

It would be easy to get carried away and try to ride far more than my level of ability, so I keep reminding myself to take it easy! Also, I managed to hurt my left knee a little this week while lounging in the armchair. I put my heel on the ottoman and when I pressed down to pull it toward me, something made a suction/pop noise in my knee! It is a little sore, but seems to be getting better. I've been doing easier profiles and easy to moderate effort while it heals.

Talladega was the hardest so far with 2600 feet of climbing and inclines up to 9% over 20 miles. That is quite a bit of work on a trainer since you pedal the entire time, even downhill. Whidbey Island Recovery is a 30 mile flat/downhill course that is great for keeping HR and effort down while letting you have a good spin.

Today is a rest day. I did 5 trainer rides and 1 outside ride for a total of 154.30 miles this week.

I am currently at 825.50 year to date miles, so I anticipate crossing 1,000 by the end of February!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Feeling Better!

I was feeling a little under the weather the past few days and ended up taking 3 days off the bike, despite being very anxious to try the new computrainer. So last week's stats were 4 days of riding and 121.16 miles.

Today was a gorgeous, warm day and I was torn between riding outside and getting on the new computrainer. Well, I decided that despite being warm, it would be a dirty ride outside and there could still be some ice. In fact, I later felt like I made the right decision when I saw on the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen message board that someone crashed on ice on today's ride and is having surgery. I don't know her, but feel so sorry it happened to her and hope she heals quickly!

I decided to do the same course on our computrainer that I did the first day on the shop computrainer, back on January 16th, so I could compare. Having felt off the past few days I didn't try to 'race', I just 'went for a ride' to see what would happen (which is how I did that shop ride too). Last time I did the 20.36 miles at 16.5 mph average and 144 average watts. This time I did 17.8 mph average and 159 average watts. Could it be improvement already?!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Computrainer Set Up

Wednesday night, after going out to a group computrainer session for an interval workout using the CTS Cycling for Power dvd, we were ready to spend the rest of the evening sitting around reading the material that came with our new trainer and beginning the process of setting it up. Jeff attached the resistance unit to the stand.

It was easy to tighten the bike onto the trainer. We fastened the cadence magnet on the crank arm and the sensor fastens to the chain stay with a Velcro strap, though we didn't get to that just yet. It's easy to plug the wires from the HR monitor and resistance unit into the computer unit, then just one wire goes from that to the laptop.

Tonight, we installed the software onto my laptop that resides next to the TV partly for the convenience of watching free internet cycling video, like Stage 6 of the TDU on Versus last month (shown in pic). We don't get cable, so we try to find the current cycling events online.

Anyway, the software was straightforward to install. One disk is actually just directions and the other has all the program stuff. Soon, we had our first glimpse of a track and virtual ride buddy. I didn't have the window quite centered on the TV screen so it's a tiny bit cropped in the pic. Jeff was on my bike in sock feet and jeans just pedaling a little to check that stats were getting from the bike to the screen.

Then, we installed the Ironman UK disk and briefly checked that we could get that started up. I'll make the window fill the screen when we do it for real. The video really does speed up and slow down to match your pedaling speed!

The trainer and bike are in the same place we've been using the Kinetic in the front hall with a clear view of the TV through the double doorway. The only thing I still need to get is the mat to protect the floor. I'll admit that we've been using a couple of super thick sheets of cardboard under the trainers temporarily, but that won't do for much longer! We want to make a little stand for the computer unit to go next to the bike like they are at the shop rather than on the handlebar.

Now that things are set up and working, we just have to explore all the possibilities! That's going to take quite some time and be quite motivating too!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


After waiting much of the day for UPS, jumping up whenever I heard a truck and glumly watching a UPS man deliver to the neighbor and then drive away without stopping here, I checked the tracking status and saw 'delivered'...What?!...I checked the back step and there it was, apparently delivered by the world's most stealthy UPS man. The dogs didn't even know about it!

Once I wrestled the box inside, it had to be checked out.

It was deemed intolerably dull, by dog standards, judging by the yawn attack that ensued.

In case you are wondering what you get in the box, here's the first look inside with the 'free' Ironman DVD that was included as part of the winter sale. We picked the UK one.

Once you haul out the box in the middle and the packing on each side, you see the support for the front wheel, the stand part of the trainer and the software/reading materials.

The box in the middle contains the resistance unit and computer.

I'll wait for Jeff to be home to take part in the assembly and set up and probably have a post for you soon on how that works out!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Catching Snowflakes

The dogs do love snow!

What a quick change back to winter weather. Yesterday was sunny and warm, but today is gray, windy and snowy.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Ground Hog Day Metric

Given the number of times I doubled back, looped around and cris-crossed my route, I began to feel a little like Bill Murray repeating his day in the famous movie. But it was a beautiful, warm day and I was outside, so I didn't mind. After all, the trainer has been far more repetitive!

When I woke up this morning I felt lousy, but once I had coffee I felt a lot better and more optimistic about a long ride on my cross bike. I took it very easy which I sort of had to in most places anyway considering all the water on the roads in many places or mounds of sand or even some slush still. I wanted to pace myself to finish.

Eighteen miles out, I was so pleased to see my friend Lynn riding towards me. I had a feeling I'd see her as we have similar biking habits. She had time to do 11 miles with me. I was by myself again until 41 miles out, when I saw two men coming along in the opposite direction. As we got close, one of them waved and called my name and I realized it was one of my regular ride buddies out with his friend who I'd met once before. They waited up as I turned around and I decided to ride with them for as long as I could keep up. Keep in mind I was on my cx bike with knobby tires and they were on road bikes! My pace picked up as I rode with them. At my 58 mile point, I started to tire and let myself fall off. I knew I could turn for home at that point with plenty of miles to count toward my goal for the day, so I didn't have the incentive to keep going anymore.

February Metric Century
64.98 miles
4:23 hours
14.8 mph average
+3,126 feet elevation
stops no longer than waiting for a light or for turning to meet up with friends
fuel (this is embarrassing) a Gatorade (I *know* I was bad about eating *again*)

Today's ride was actually my 2nd outdoor ride this month. Yesterday, Jeff and I did 20 miles. I now have some proof that the trainer riding is working. I'm not sure I've gotten any faster, but I've at least maintained and I think I have improved my cadence, muscles and aerobic capacity even if it's not showing up in my speeds yet. Keep in mind, the roads are in bad shape out there, so I don't think anyone is out there pushing for full speed this time of year.

The only thing that I felt I might have lost from all the indoor riding is the mental stamina for dealing with the puddles and potholes and wind, etc. Yesterday seemed hard and I really had my fill of all that stuff within 10 miles though I kept going. Today didn't seem as hard that way, but it was a lot warmer and I had more company and conversation to distract me!