Starting from Zero…

Time off is a good thing…

Until it isn’t.

After AIDS/LifeCycle this year, I continued riding (or trying to) at least one time a week. There were certainly challenges to getting out and committing the time, but I stuck with it. At the same time, I let my diet go to crap, and got back into some negative habits that aren’t really compatible with cycling and any sort of hardcore training. A work trip to Paris was the last nail in the coffin. Upon my return, I couldn’t even look at my bike, much less think about riding. Ultimately, this led to me stepping down from a leadership position in my cycling team – something that just piled onto the mental chorus of reasons I really was done with riding for a bit.

I am here to tell you – my mental and emotional health wound up taking a HUGE hit. Also, my waistline…

So, yesterday, after a huge not-so-healthy dinner, I picked myself up and made myself set the bike up on the stationary trainer.  Then, I actually spent an hour spinning – I’ve lost a lot of my strength/power, but I kept going for the full hour I’d allotted for myself.

Today, I’m starting from zero. New focus on my health, making better choices food wise, and working to get myself back on my bike daily. I have no idea how this will go, but I’m committed to trying. This season, my focus is more on me and rediscovering my love of cycling. Stay tuned. 

 

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New year, new adventures…

Well, this has turned out to be the little blog that didn’t….2014 was a big year, and a year full of changes. My cycling tapered off after the ride in June, and I struggled with my motivation to ride. My health suffered a bit, and I am finding myself struggling with routes and familiar sections of road that I recall being much easier/faster.

So, I’m starting over, training wise. I’ve made out a list of cycling goals for the year, gone in for a bike fit (thankfully, somehow my saddle position was WAY off), and have committed to commuting by bike and taking a few mid-week rides in addition to the normal Saturday and Sunday training rides I’ll be doing in prep for ALC.

This morning, I was up at 5 to meet friends at 6 for a ride up to Twin Peaks. We didn’t stick around for a full sunrise, but the view was spectacular (check out the image included in this post). I’ll be doing that ride every week, weather permitting, to help with my climbing. Hope that you all are excited for the challenges and excitement in store in 2015 – I know I am:-)

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New day, new year, new focus…

This little blog has been sitting, lonely and neglected, for the past few months. Life has been anything but smooth, and my sole focus has been getting through my day to day as successfully as possible.

The past few weeks have seen numerous changes, and as part of that, I’ve been recommitting myself to cycling (and adding weight training to my existing regimen) in preparation for ALC 2015.

I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to more successfully chronicle my training, as well as my experiences cycling in the Bay Area (and elsewhere, when the opportunity allows). I still believe that there are so many things that I have to learn about myself, and hope that you’ll come back now and then to see how things are going…

Time for a comeback…

Well, if my silence hasn’t been enough of an indication, 40 has been a super busy year. Between work, facilitating training rides as a training ride leader, carving out time for my own training, more work, and a teeny bit of a social life, I’ve been BUSY.

We’re just a few weeks out from this year’s AIDS/LifeCycle, and it seems as good a time as any to crank the blog back up and to continue examining how cycling influences my life.

Right now, I’m in the midst of refocusing on my fitness levels and trying to reign in eating habits that have been affected by the post ride ‘Eat All The Food’ mentality. Yes, there’s a case to be made that the longer rides require more fuel, but there’s also the whole idea of being smart about what you eat before, during, and after a ride. And, ultimately, not feeling like I’ve been stuffed into my cycling gear…

There’s also pretty strong motivation to keep up my current level of riding through the summer, in an effort to step up my speed and climbing abilities for next year…lots to do, lots to do…

But first, I need to make it through this coming weekend’s back to back century rides (and a screening of Serial Mom at the Castro Theater!). Stay tuned for updates…

A cyclist arrives at 40…

And promptly gets whacked by a cold.

That’s not an omen. Right?

On to bigger and better things – TRL’ing is going great. I’ve been helping out with a series that meets at the Del Norte BART station in El Cerrito. We’ve had good attendance, and biked some really fun routes so far. I’m helping out this coming Sunday, the 17th, as well as two more Sundays in December (the 8th and the 15th). Then, I’ll have a few weeks of random holiday rides before starting a training ride series as a co-facilitator on Saturday, January 4th. I’ll be sharing facilitator duties with a friend on Saturdays from January through mid-May, riding all over the North Bay Area from our starting point at Mike’s Bikes in Sausalito. I’m in such a different place than last year – I’ve found myself focused on all the ways I can give back to this amazing community of cyclists, roadies, and friends. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to help some new riders as they prepare to make their way to LA in June.

One thing that I’ve not done so well? Fundraising. I have a few things I’ll be doing in the next week to reach out to family and friends who were donors for last year’s ride, but find myself in desperate need of some new ideas. I’m going to try and do less through Facebook, this year, and focus more on actively engaging past and potential donors, to talk more about why I am riding. I’ll be attempting to tell a story – my story and the story of those I’m riding for. I’ll be sharing those stories here as well, in an effort to create a ‘training season narrative’ that I can look back on at the end of the 2014 ride.

Lots of things to look forward to in this, my first week as a 40 year old cyclist. Stick around and see what happens…

Climbing, Descending, Falling, and TRL’ing…weekend recap!

This past weekend was a change of pace for me. Instead of back to back training rides, I participated in a skills clinic offered by Savvy Bike on Saturday, and TRL’d my second ever training ride on Sunday. I spent the weekend focusing on learning new skills and practicing them while riding with an amazing group of new and returning ALC’ers.

The strangest thing about Saturday? Sleeping in…well, sleeping in after feeding Marty.  After lunch, I made my way to Portola Valley Town Center and met up with our instructors, Bob and Annie.  After introductions and some ‘class time’ we headed out and spent the better part of the afternoon learning how to climb and descend.  We learned when it makes sense to climb in the saddle (long, slow climbs) versus out of the saddle (short, steep climbs or for a posture break). We talked about finding (and holding) your line, counter steering, looking where you want to go, and when your hands should be where on your bars. Bob and Annie were really amazing – they both had some really good pointers and techniques that I think will be invaluable as I move forward with my training in the coming months. As part of our exercise, we wound up going to the top of Alpine Rd – something that was offered as ‘bonus miles’ on a training ride last spring. I declined the extra mileage then, so this was my first time to the top – what a fantastic stretch of road!  It gets a little bumpy (and has a few steeper sections) but is a really nice ‘up and back’.  The other, not so fun, part of our exercise resulted in me losing my balance and falling…twice.  Both times I was practically stationary, and had plenty of witnesses.  It was a humbling experience – but, I remembered to laugh.  Everyone falls, and everyone picks themselves up and keeps going.

Sunday, I headed out to Del Norte BART in El Cerrito to help out with a 32 mile training ride.  The ride was a basic ‘out and back’ from El Cerrito to Vallejo and back, including the Carquinez Bridge.  There were some nice climbs (and even better descents) which gave me ample opportunity to practice the skills learned on Saturday.  I also spent some time practicing emergency stops, and biking at a pace slower than I’m comfortable with, all while providing support and encouragement (mostly smiles) to our group of riders.  The ride was a fairly quick one – we had all our riders back in before 2pm.  Afterwards, I sat in Berkeley traffic on interstate 80 (shocker, I know) as I made my way back to San Francisco.  Once home, I cleaned up and spent the rest of my day and evening reviewing cycling news and training resources.

This week, I’m hoping to get out on my bike after work one afternoon – it’ll be a night ride, with the time change, but I haven’t ridden the park in a while and could use some time working on my climbing (there’s a few blocks on Kirkham road that are perfect for short uphill sprints).  The weekend will likely be back to back rides, a fun Saturday night out celebrating my last weekend as a 39 year old, and some time spent looking ahead and beginning to make my goals for the coming year. The next few weeks should be interesting, on a number of fronts – stay tuned!

Guess what I did this past weekend?

I’m a full fledged, certified ALC Training Ride Leader (or TRL, for short).  I spent Saturday and Sunday learning what it means to be a great TRL from a few veterans, the importance of (active!) stretching with Steve and Imee from Renew Physical Therapy, the importance of bike fit with Dan from Revolutions in Fitness, spent some time improving our bike skills with Lorri from SavvyBike, and reviewed some basic bike maintenance and ways to keep things clean and shiny (as much as possible) with another veteran….

It was a really fun, engaging two days.  I’m already reviewing the information we received (and have been getting together my home bike maintenance supplies so I can give the Trek a proper scrub down).  The cycling community I have found myself in continues to provide me with opportunities to grow and challenge myself further – next up is maintaining my own training while I help others begin to prepare for next year’s ride.  After all the support and encouragement I received from my TRLs last year, I can only hope to do the same for the riders I’ll get to spend time with this year.

Also!  I’ve updated my donation page – the same link from last year should still work (and, you’ll see it points back to this blog!).  Please check it out, and if donate if you are able.  Stay tuned for a recap of my first ride as a TRL this coming Sunday!

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