Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Post for 2008

I wanted to take a moment and wish everyone, cyclist or not, a Happy New Year. I'm looking forward to many miles on pavement, single track, and gravel with my friends old and new, along with those I have yet to meet, in 2009.

For those of you in the Des Moines area, The Degree Ride is tomorrow morning at 10 AM. The roads are clear and the weather will be nice. Get an early start on your 2009 mileage. Hope to see all of you there tomorrow morning. I'll be there at 9 or so for coffee and conversation.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Getting Fit

Been pretty quiet on the riding front lately. I've hit a couple of trainer sessions at Lou's, and snuck in cold, windy two hour mtb ride at Big Creek with Taylor, Sedore, Bruce and Kurt, but that's been about it. The holidays combined with a rather poorly timed head cold have even kept me off the trainer, let alone having a ride outside. Things are better now, and I hope that a streak of decent weather will let me commute into work this (short) week.

I did manage to schedule a road bike fit on the 26th with Adam at Rasmussen Bike Shop. Adam used the Specialized BG Fit II System during the session. I can say that this was a great fit experience for me. Adam started out by asking me number of questions about issues I was having while on the bike. Adam checked me for indications of a tilting pelvis, and leg length discrepancies. I made him aware of the pigeon toe that I have in my lower legs. When I mentioned my tight post-ride IT bands and soleus, he took the time to check the flexibility of my IT bands, hamstrings, and back. Next, Adam had me perform a couple of knee bends so he could watch the movement of my knees. He then put a set of footbeds underneath my feet, and had me repeat the knee bends, while he explained the theory behind their use. I noticed an immediate change in my knee stability with the foot beds underneath my feet. Convinced, I had him trim them to fit my shoes and put them in place.

With these checks out of the way, Adam prepped the computer and stood and watched while I warmed up on the trainer. The next change we made was adjusting my seat forward and leveling it out. I tend to run my saddles a bit on the nose high side so I don't feel like I'm sliding off the tip of the saddle. After a bit of time figuring out how to adjust my American Classic seat post, I was on the bike again. As soon as I was on the drops, I noticed how relaxed my elbows were and now naturally my hands went to the drops. Although it felt different, I knew that the seat adjustment was a good thing.

Next, Adam started monitoring my pedal stroke using the computer, two small video cameras, and two orange dots that were stuck to my knees. We spent the next hour playing connect the dots with the bottom, middle and top of my pedal stroke and making adjustments to both the cleats and the shims underneath the footbeds in my shoes. It took a good amount of time, a number of changes before Adam felt happy with the results. The post fit video shows my knees having a nice linear movement throughout the entire pedal stroke. Before the fit, my left knee was moving in a large arc or an oval. From the short time I was on the trainer in the shop, I felt like I was able to put more power to the pedals, as well as pedal more smoothly.

I'm hoping to get on the trainer for a couple of hours in the next day or two to see how it feels for an extended period of time. I'm sure it will take some time for my body to adapt to the new position. That said, I feel that the money and time I expended on the fit will be well worth the investment. Adam really took his time during the process and made sure that everything was as ideal as it could be, all without making any unnecessary changes to either me or my bike. If you haven't had a bike fit done, or it's been a few years since you had one performed, I would strongly suggest talking to Adam and scheduling a fit session with him.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cold Ride

Met Kurt, Kyle, Bruce and Taylor out at Big Creek this afternoon to ride the snowmobile trails. 30 minutes of attempting that and we figured out that the snow was not in the right shape for bike riding. We spent the next 90 minutes riding on the roads around the lake, and at some points, on the lake itself. The winds picked up while we were riding and the temperature dropped. By the time we finished up, the winds were blowing at 20 and gusting to 30 and temp had dropped to 7. A good two hour workout, and some good mental training. Meeting Lou, Pete and Pig for an indoor training fest tomorrow morning. Windchills are going to be too low for even this hardy soul to head outside.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

December = Good times

Has been a varied week on the biking front. Four days worth of commuting this week, despite the snow and the cold. This has kept me in shape, but cemented my decayed mental state with a good number of my coworkers. The good thing is that I really don't care. :) I felt like getting some extra miles in on Monday, so I met up with Kent and rolled down to the shop where Stirling remove a crank spider for him. We had a good chuckle at the guy who thought that studded tires were necessary already. Afterwards, I rolled with Kent to his house and then took Beaver Ave and the Trestle to Trestle trail home. Bonus 20 miles for me. Would be nice if businesses kept the sidewalks/trails in front of their businesses in better shape, but no issues for now. 23 miles of cold pavement for the day.

Wednesday found me heading out after work with Kent again. We rolled black label down to Denmans and cut first tracks through about half of the single track there (forgetting that Rick Blackford was headed out from the shop about the same time). Kent was having a tough time in the snow with his commuter geared Haro Mary, so we dropped onto Dirty Express about halfway through. Had a quick chat with Squirrel, Rick and Conlan and then rode black label and pavement to Kent's. I hooked back through Windsor Heights for some food and poker with friends. 3 miles of single track and maybe 12 or so on pavement for the day

Thursday's commute was damn cold, especially going home. Second time this week to bust out with the ski mask so my eyeballs didn't freeze solid. 6 miles of commute

Friday, I rode into work, and then raced downtown afterwards, getting some odd looks from cars as I passed them both along Ingersoll as well as between stoplights downtown. I met Kathy, Dan, Lacey, Tobin and Ellen at The Royal Mile for dinner and drinks at 6 PM, before The Nada's Silent Night show at Hoyt Sherman Auditorium. I snuck over to Carl's Place for Newcastle with the CITA boys before heading back over. Everyone else sat in the auditorium and enjoyed the show. I, along with Ryan, Squirrel, Ed, Kent, Sam and Justin spent the show powering 25 strings of christmas lights by powering a generator with a bike. We each rode for two songs, and spent the rest of the time off stage right drinking beer or Templeton and Coke. This was the first year for this, and it was a success. I think plans are in place to power more lights this way next year. Kathy and I headed over to the after party for a bit and then made our way home. I think I passed out in bed about 1 AM. A great day with a number of great friends. Probably 13 miles of cold pavement for the day.

Saturday morning , the alarm went off at 6 AM. Way too early considering the previous evening's frivolity. I got dressed and headed out to meet Sam by 7 AM at the north Sycamore trail head. CITA has taken over the Sycamore 8 trail run. Sam and I loaded up Sam's Bob and headed south along the trail, putting up arrows and signs so the runners could find their way to the finish line. With the trailer, the signage and a couple of stops for coffee, it took us about 90 minutes to mark most of the course. After a quick sweep of the course we headed to the finish for some very welcome soup and hot chocolate. After the last two finishers crossed the line, I helped pack up the truck, and then Kristin Reese and I rode the trail back North. After splitting off from Kristin a couple of miles later, I rode back and collected all of the signs that Sam and I had put up. 18 miles of snowy single track in 30 degree temps.