Thursday, May 26, 2011

Training this week - Huck Finnin' on a bike flashbacks

Had another good week of "quality" training. "Quality" meaning short and sweet training sessions. The days of LSD (Long Slow Distance) miles are behind me. My training consists of either short intervals or long intervals, that's it.

Tuesday I rode from work and did the Noon Hill ride out of Arlington Italian Store. During my ride there, I saw someone carrying three car tires on their mountain bike handlebars. I thought leaving my laptop mount (weighs 2 lbs) for commuting on would be good for training, this guy (didn't join us on the ride) took that to a new level.

I was excited to get a good ride in because last week was a disaster (flat in first 2 miles of ride). Things started off well, we were starting to crank up the pace and I was in the groove. About halfway through the ride, I started having some weird feeling in the chain that was prominent when I was cranking on it. I dialed back the power after realizing this. Still put in some good efforts and there were a few strong guys there that made it nice and fast. Well it turns out I had one link that was about to go. Thankfully the guys at Big Wheel Bikes, near where the ride meets, hooked me up with some pliers and a chain extractor and I was back on the road. I road back to work, no problems with the chain.

On Wednesday I slapped the laptop bag onto the bike, threw a leg over the bike at the crack of dawn and set off for work. The first 20 miles felt great, I was cruising pretty good into a slight head wind until a familiar feeling started coming from my bike. The damn chain. I thought it was fixed for good! Well what I did yesterday used to work with chains made for 8-speed bikes but not for the new ones. You are supposed to replace the pin. Oh well, I dialed it back again and made it into work.

Well as the work day went on I started having flash backs of my POOR RACING DAYS when I had to ride every bike part into the ground and only when it broke, it would get replaced. Rewind 20 years and my best friend, Wes Hamilton, and I are doing the old Windemere death ride on Sunday. It was a typical Florida, hot as cat in heat, day. We were about 10 miles from the finish of the ride and we were puttin' the hammer down when I slipped a chain, or so I thought. I didn't think anything of it until I pulled over and looked down and saw that I no longer had a chain. I looked back and it was lying on the road, D'OH! I tried to piece it together, MacGyver-style but nothing worked. So I said eff it and decided to Flintstone it, that is climb on the bike and just start walking/running. The only problem is your toes just barely touch the ground. Well I could only take this for about 2 miles, my boys down stairs were DYYYYING. 

A little brainstorming later and I decided that I needed to find a decent sized stick to use HUCK FINN-style on a bike. This worked pretty good until my hands started bleeding from being worn to the bone. I still had 5 miles to go. I gave up on trying anything else and just took off the bike shoes and started the long hot walk to the van. Just when I was starting to have oasis visions, I saw a beautiful sight, good ole Wes Hamilton. Wes had come back to save my butt!! I hopped back on the bike and he pushed me the rest of the way to the van. Lesson sort of learned (that is, fix chain before it breaks).

After recalling this incident I decided I didn't want a repeat and rode over to the local REI and fixed the link. They used a part called Missing Link to fix it. I may be the only one that doesn't know these parts exist nowadays but it rocks. I grabbed an extra one just in case a broken chain is in my future. I had 30+ miles in front of me and was starting to feel rushed because I only had 2 hours of sunlight left, so I paid my bill, grabbed my bike and hit the road. I started hitting the tempo pretty quick and started sweating quickly, it was in the high 80's. I reached down to grab a bottle and came up empty, damn it. I had taken them out when I gave the bike to the mechanic and forgot them at REI. Oh crap, I knew I needed water on a day like today. Luckily once I hit DC I realized there is a street vendor about every 5 feet and I was able to grab a bottle of ice cold water. Whew!!

One thing that sped my ride up on the way home was that I was able to draft a PT cruiser for a couple of miles as I was heading out of DC. Felt good to go that fast for a little while but you have to be uber aware of the road ahead. DC tends to have some significant manhole cover tire busters.

Thursday I did the Wakefield ride. I was going to meet the "pain train" at Bailey's cross roads but none of them were going to the ride today. I grabbed my Nite Rider MiNewt head light and decided to ride from work. It was a nice night and we had about 30 folks head out of the parking lot. This week I stuck with the group and we steadily picked the pace up after about 2-3 miles.

After a couple of hard turns on the front a couple of us pulled away from the group. Turns out our little group wasn't very familiar with the course. We managed to do a decent job negotiating the turns for a couple of miles until we started second guessing our selves and decided to slow our pace. We kept making turns and saw the group was closing on us. We made a bunch of quick turns that we thought were the right ones until we noticed the group wasn't behind us anymore. One of the guys that knew the course the best (relatively speaking), thought we had missed a turn and sure enough we did and turned around and got back on track. We decided to drill it and after a tough effort we caught the group after 2-3 miles of chasing. Sweet effort but that spent one or two of my matches.

Finished up the rest of the ride with some decent pulls and hill efforts. As we got close to the parking lot, I put on the headlight, waved to the crew and headed back to work. I got in 45 good intense miles today and I can certainly feel it in my legs right now. Time to rest.

Hitting BikeJam in Baltimore this weekend. The Bike Doctor team has been dialed in the last month or so and has been winning lots of races. If we can avoid the craziness of the BikeJam course we should be able to continue these winning ways this weekend.


  1. Did you get that new bike, yet?! Funny write up. Kill 'em tomorrow!

  2. Thanks buddy! I am talking to Cannondale rep now, should have one ordered soon.

  3. Sobe-

    Blew my chain 63 miles into the Seagull Century in 2009. The missing link would have saved me a 7 mile push to the rest-stop and a 60 minute wait for SAG wagon. Good info to have

  4. @scott - Ouch! The missing link will forever be in my bag. It doesn't require any tools!