Sunday, December 14, 2008

Now I went and did it

Well, bad day yesterday, my first real major crash on my bicycle. And I paid for it, typing with just my one hand due to my broken left collarbone. Basically got pushed too close to the edge of the rode by some gusty winds (around noon) and ended up launching myself. There's no shoulder on the road and it drops off, not exactly sure how my wheels caught, but I ended up in heap. Everything seemed intact, but I had significant swelling in my left shoulder right away. I slowly rode back to my house, and then headed off to the emergency room, at least it was not busy and was able to see the doctor very quickly. There's not much they can do other than sling it, and provide some pills for pain management. Hopefully, this will heal up sooner rather than later, but I'd say my riding for 2008 has concluded.

I've looked over the bike some and it seems no worse for the wear. I'll do a more thorough examination before I hop back on it though.

Monday, December 01, 2008

2009 LIVESTRONG registration

The registration for the 2009 Challenge opened today. I signed up, my new donation page is here. I've also been going thru my website and blog fixing up the links to reference the new page.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sweatin' Burnt Orange Bike Tour 08

The SBOBT was held November 2nd, starting in Blanco, Tx. The drive out was quite pleasant, nowhere near the traffic for the LSC, so I made pretty good time. The only thing I forgot was my digital camera, so I used my low res cell phone to snap a few pictures.

It was quite nice out, in the low 60s to start out and getting to about 80 by the end of the ride, very nice considering it's November. Just before the start, I saw one of my friends from work. After the ride, we talked some, he was in the lead group for the whole ride. The ride was a bit tougher than he thought it would be. He had a GPS and measured 3800' of climbing in the ride. It seemed more, but perhaps it was more, steeper climbs that made it more arduous. The LSC last week claims 6000' of climbing, but this ride felt tougher.

I stayed with the 'lead' group for probably 25 miles before they dropped me, and caught up to them at both rest stop #4 (in Sisterdale) and stop #5 at Old Tunnel WMA. They left the rest stop before me and I never saw them again. From this stop on to the end, I rode with one other guy, each of us taking turns in the lead. My impression was he did more leading but he thought it was about equal. In any case, it was good for both of us, to keep our speed up and work a bit less when drafting. After rest stop #6 in Luckenbach, I felt low on energy, I thought I was eating and drinking enough, but perhaps not. The final rest stop was on a side road right next to the Blanco River. The river is extremely low and in some spots looked completely dry (but that may have been tributaries).

After the ride, BBQ was provided in the Blanco town square, I had some brisket, sausage, beans and bread. Real Ale was also providing some beer (I believe the Firemans #4 Blonde Ale), it hit the spot after the long ride.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

LiveStrong Challenge - Day 3 (Sunday the 26th) - Ride

The Challenge ride was held in Dripping Springs, Tx again this year.

Due to construction on highway 290, the LAF warned us we should leave ourselves ample time to get there. As it turned out, the travel time to get there was not much more than last year -- who besides a bunch of crazy bike riders is driving at 6am on a Sunday?!? (the drive back was slower, much more traffic).

I arrived about an hour before the start and parked at the Dripping Springs ISD Administration building, not an 'official' spot, but a bit out of the way, and less traffic to deal with. It's a little more than a mile from the high school so a little bit of a ride (and in the morning, quite dark), but good for a warmup. Some other riders pulled up and parked while I was getting ready. The temperature was about 65, so pretty comfortable. At this time of year it can be much cooler but we had a great weather for the Challenge.

At the Start/Finish, a lady who recently had brain surgery was setup to ride a stationary bike 100 miles. Her doctors did not want her on the road (since she's not fully recovered). She finished her 100 miles about 1 minute after I finished. That's quite an impressive feat.

With about 2 minutes before the start, they announced the start of the ride was delayed by about 20 minutes - Lance had arrived late, he made a few remarks explaining the delay - and then encouraged all of us to have fun and enjoy the ride.

Once the ride started, I moved in and out of groups, and stopped at every other rest stop. One fast group of about a dozen riders passed me three times I think, since they would stop where I skipped, or I would leave a stop before they did. When they passed, I had thoughts of trying to hang with them, but thought better of it. They were just a bit faster than me.

The ride was very nice, not too much wind, partly cloudy and beautiful vistas in the Hill County. When passing through Wimberley, there was a photographer snapping pictures of most everyone passing by (not from the 'official' company). I looked through the slideshow, my picture isn't there.

There is quite a bit of climbing in the route (6000'), but I was able to leave the chain on the big ring in front for the whole ride, although I'm sure shifting to the small ring would have been advisable in a few cases. I felt relatively good toward the end, though I had some pain in my left foot, well more my toes, from pushing up on the underside of the shoe.

After the ride, I walked around the Village some, got some food (they had small Subway sandwiches, pizza, and some Mexican food available - I had a little of each) and headed over to the beer tent. I met several members of Team Dell including one of the captains that had spoken at the Appreciation Dinner the night before.

My ride time was better than last year by a small bit, I was pleased I could manage a good speed. On some of the hills, I felt I couldn't have been going more than 5 mph ... but of course, the downhill side makes up for that.

I found out my friend Henrike had a bad crash at the Challenge just after the start. She's ok, but it sounds quite nasty. I hope she gets well soon and there's no lasting damage.

I had a good time and hopefully will participate in the Challenge next year.

LiveStrong Challenge - Day 2 (Saturday the 25th) - Appreciation Dinner

The Appreciation Dinner was held at the downtown Hilton, which is just north of the Austin Convention Center (it was held in the ACC last year). I was a little worried about being late since UT was playing Oklahoma State and the game was due to end just as I would be traveling downtown. There was some extra traffic, but not too bad, plus I had given myself some extra time to get there.

Once you signed in, you filled out a name tag for yourself and for your table since only certain contributors had reserved seating.

There was a reception before the dinner, and a silent auction featuring signed items from Tony Hawk, Alonzo Mourning, Lance Armstrong.

My daughter accompanied me to the dinner this year. The serving started a little late, once seated, you went back outside where they had setup several buffet lines. There was plenty of good food, salad, rolls, garlic noodles, salmon, chicken parmesan, pasta primavera, and some delicious desserts -- including one with a spoon made of chocolate. It was all very tasty.

Once dinner was more or less complete, the emcee, Evan Smith started off the remainder of the event. He was substituting for Doug Ulman who was away at a wedding in New Orleans. Doug had made a short video which they showed. They also showed a video made around the world discussing how other societies deal with cancer and treatment (watch a short version). It was eye opening how much lack of knowledge there is in other parts of the world. Part of the reason for Lance's return to competitive cycling is to spread the LAF mission around the world, raising people's awareness, and hopefully getting more preventative screening down.

After some of the corporate sponsors talked, Lance & Evan conducted a Q & A session. At the reception, you could fill out a card with any question you wanted to ask Lance. They selected about 6 or so to answer. One turned out to be from a lady sitting right next to me. Another of the questions was from a 7 year old which they invited to the stage to ask his question in person, which was:

"Lance, what's the worstest crash you've ever had?"

Lance pondered a bit and started to answer "My worst crash was....." and immediately the crowd was heckling him with "worstest.. worstest". He then corrected himself and gave the details of his "worstest" crash. Lance then asked the boy if he had a followup question, and the boy proceeded to not ask a question, but to give the details of his "worstest" crash (which included flipping over the handle bars). Lance then said "That crash was way worser than mine" :-)

They also invited up the Challenge award winners for top contributor, most donors, most team members who each gave a short speech.

I enjoyed myself and hope I can attend next year, although that's more up to my donors than it is to me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

LiveStrong Challenge - Day 2 (Saturday the 25th) - Walk

The walk was held in downtown Austin, Tx on Saturday. I arrived well ahead of time, and it was still quite dark out. Like last year, the start was just south of the Capitol, however down one block, at 10th and Congress.

Just before the start, Doug Ulman gave a small speech, followed by the National Anthem, and then actor Evan Handler. Watch the video.

Once the walk started, I ran for just a little bit since I was to the front and didn't want to get trampled. The route was different this year, turning east on 3rd street and then north on Trinity. I tried to watch for the mile markers, I believe the timing was 12:53 for mile 1, 28:17 for mile 2 and 43:30 at end, at mile 3 (the chip recorded 43:29.442). Perhaps one day I'll try running, but for now, the walking suits me.

Once again, they had pedicabs for children from the Dell Children's Hospital. Most of them were quite noisy as they passed so they didn't sneak up on you. I found out the next day some of the riders from Team Dell were the "drivers" for the cabs.

These folks, from the Palmetto Pelaton, rode from Greenville, South Carolina to Austin in about 5 days. They left on October 19th, rode in groups of 5 for 6 hours, 24 hours a day. I'm impressed! After all the walkers had finished, they invited the whole gang to go up on stage for a group photo

After the walk, I went up to the Capitol to look around a bit. Last year I didn't go inside, but decided I would this time. There were lots of other folks from the walk with the same idea as me, probably a good deal of them from out of state.

As I left, I noticed many UT fans were already setting up their tail-gating parties for the game that afternoon.

Once home, I did a short ride in preparation for the Ride tomorrow.

Friday, October 24, 2008

LiveStrong Challenge - Day 1 (Friday the 24th)

Registration was at the Austin Convention Center on Friday. I took the afternoon off from work so I could travel downtown before rush hour. I arrived and parked in the parking garage on 2nd street, the prior time I had used the one on 5th street. I didn't have a voucher to park but they had a signin sheet, thus parking was free.

I headed over to the ACC and picked up my packet right away. It didn't take too long, they had alot of people working. After checking in, I also picked up a timer chip that could be used both on the walk/run and the ride. Previously, they only had used the time for the walk/run. The LAF decided to time the ride since Lance was now racing again - although they make it clear it's not to be treated as a race.

I wandered around some more, stopping by several of the booths, Kashi had a big setup doing cooking demonstrations. Bicycle Sport Shop setup a small store, they had a good deal on some 10//2 clothing, a shirt and windbreaker, I decided to get both.

Chris Carmichael (Lance's coach) was there, autographing copies of his book. We got to talk for a minute, he was riding the 90 miler on Sunday. Nissan was sponsoring this and took a picture putting you on the cover of Bicycling magazine.

I went to find my friend Henrike, she's one of the Challenge mentors (for the International Region). We talked for quite a while, she had trouble with some of her fundraising due to the view of some in Europe that Lance must have doped to win the TdF and his return somehow encourages more doping. It doesn't make much sense to either one of us. She's planning on running the Berlin marathon in a few years, I wish her luck, running is much harder on your body than biking. While we were talking, several other folks, from England, stopped by. I was hoping I'd see her during the walk or ride but I never did... but there were so many people around, it was not a big surprise.

I filled out my 'In Honor of'' cards for my Mom and brother and put them on the wall. They move this to the Village they setup at the Ride.

I wandered around a bit more and then headed home to get some rest for the walk the next day.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Outlaw Trail 100 - 08

The Outlaw Trail 100 was held on October 18th starting in Round Rock, Tx. The route was very close to prior years.

The weather was spectacular, clear and cool. Looking back at last year, it was about 20 degrees cooler and much less humid. I decided to ride to Old Settler's Park from my house, and then, of course, back. The distance was about 7 and a quarter miles each way. Fortunately, the wind was from the north so I had a bit of an assist on the way back.

I considered doing the 100K distance given the LiveStrong Challenge is this coming weekend, but I felt good and did the 100 mile route. The wind was from the north but nowhere near as strong as last year, making the ride much more enjoyable. I was able to stay in a few packs, but for the most part, I rode solo. Near the end, maybe mile 95, I did my 'TdF' move, racing ahead of a group I had been in for a liitle while. At the very end, one of those riders did catch me for his 'stage win'.

At the end, instead of pizza, they organizers provided a coupon for 'Chicken Express' and I got some tenders. At least this way, everyone gets a hot meal, before, by the time the 100 mile riders return, the pizza they had in prior years was cold.

The ride was enjoyable and they have quite a turnout every year.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Final push for the Challenge

The Challenge is only 3 weeks away now,  seemed so far away for such a long time and now it will be here before we know it.  I sent another round of fundraising emails out today, hopefully people can make some donations, even with all the confusing economic news swirling around these days.  It's certainly unfortunate since I think it does impact giving in general.

I noticed the Challenge events are scheduled to start at 7:30am, both the Walk/Run and the Ride.  With daylight savings time still in effect for the events (standard time does not begin until the first weekend in November), the sun won't be up when they start although it will be twilight.  Hopefully this won't much of an issue.  Since alot of my training rides have been during early morning, I'm pretty used to this, although it may be a bit different for some folks.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rip Roarin' Ride - 08

The Rip Roarin' Ride was held today in Liberty Hill, TX. The route follows more or less the same roads as the Armadillo ride until it reached Burnet, at that point, the route was directed back to one of the rest stops instead of proceeding north through the town into the state park.

There were somewhere between 400 and 500 riders judging by the numbers they were giving out to the riders registering at the event. I has pre-registered and got #14 jersey number.

I took some pictures before the start and noticed my battery was almost depleted. I had checked the battery before I left and it measured 2/3s full, but that was a false reading. I was a little aggravated at myself given I have an extra battery and could have swapped them before leaving.

The ride started at 8am and proceeded generally toward the northwest. I found myself in pretty much the lead group and kept up pretty well, there seemed to be about 25 people in the group. The 79/103 mile route diverged about 13 miles in and only 7 of us were on the longer route, I was a little surprised by that. We stayed pretty much together until we reached rest stop #4. We all stopped there for a rest, and I left before the remainder of group. Before leaving, I did check my bike computer (I usually don't really look at it except for the total time), and we had averaged just over 20mph for about the 1st two hours. That probably was a little too fast for me and I may have used up more energy than I should given the ride was only 1/3 done.

I rode the the first part of the loop back to rest stop 4 by myself, as it turns out, the prior group I was with caught me about 1/2 way through the loop. I stayed with them until we go back to rest stop 4. For the 103 mile route, the next part of the ride was to retrace the loop in the opposite direction, meaning, once again, you'd end up back at the same rest stop. During that portion, I saw no one else going my direction, but did pass a dozen or so riders riding the loop in the opposite direction. Part of the loop is through open fields meaning livestock could be on the road. Fortunately, that never occurred, but it did mean you had to ride over a whole series of cattle guards. They are pretty bumpy, but something you have to deal with when out in the Hill Country. The reverse direction on the loop seemed more difficult, the wind had come up some by then and I think the uphills were steeper in that direction.

After the 3rd visit to rest stop 4, the route followed pretty much the same path back to the start, which meant going up an extremely steep climb, from looking at it, it doesn't seem all that steep, but the grade increases the farther up the hill you go, it does test your resolve, that's for sure.

For much of this portion of the ride, you didn't see any other riders except when reaching the next rest stop. That's pretty understandable given only a small fraction of the riders do the longer distances, and just a tiny difference in speed after many hours can space riders quite distant from each other. Since I normally train solo, this is not much a concern for me. It does cost speed, from the lack of a draft and pacing though.

I finished up in just under 6 hours, a good time for me. They had some BBQ sandwiches available, that was appreciated.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

ACA ride last Saturday

Instead of my normal Saturday (8/2) ride, I was invited by one of my work friends to go on one of the Austin Cycling Association sponsored rides. They have many rides scheduled, this particular one was the 'Wier Lost' ride.

I rode from my house to the Old Settler's Park in Round Rock, about 10.5 miles. I did the 30 mile route, and then rode back home. Of course, the ride back from the park was directly into the wind, and mostly uphill -- both my favorites! ;-)

The ride was on some of the same roads that are part of either the Red Poppy or Outlaw Trail rides, along with other back roads. At the start of the ride, I attempted to stay with my friend, however, he took off and I was unable to catch him (he later told me he averaged 20mph for 30 miles, somewhat faster than I ride). I let the group behind me catch up and I remained with them for the bulk of the ride (they knew the route, it saved me from having to look at the map). They had a pace a little slower than I prefer. When the group stopped for food, I took of early and finished with a smaller group od riders.

I enjoyed the different scenery, and perhaps, will do other ACA rides.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Started Fundraising

I sent out my first round of emails for the Challenge about a week ago. I'm very pleased with the response thus far. I started somewhat later this year, I don't think that will have much impact overall, the Austin Challenge takes place last, and it's a couple weeks later this year compared to last.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Tour d'Temple 2008

Tour d'Temple took place on May 31st, starting, strangely enough, in Temple, TX. The route followed a NW direction up to Mother Neff State Park, and the returned in a SE direction back ot the start (I rode the 100K route). The inward leg used a slightly different route (some was shared). Unfortunately, this being Texas, and for all intents and purposes, summertime, the S/SE wind was present from the start, getting worse as the day went. Thus, the ride out to the Park was relatively easy, but the last half of the ride was much more difficult. The final 5 miles or so parallel I-35 heading south, and it seemed almost always uphill.

The route was not overly hilly, no worse than the rolling farmland country where I normally ride. There was one large hill, near the north end of Mother Neff. However, it was with the wind, so not as tough as it could have been. Once north of the park, I was alone except for one other rider I had passed on the climb. The "directions" were painted arrows on the pavement, and given I saw no one else, I started to wonder if I had missed a turn. I stopped and let the other rider catch up, she had a map and as it turned out, we were almost at the road to turn back south.

The time for the 100k distance was a bit slower than usual, I believe mostly due to the persistent headwind for the later half of the ride.

I had driven up to Temple the night before and stayed in my son's house. It's about an hour drive, so, it was easier to do that before and not have to leave so early from my house. Plus, I got to rest there some after the ride before driving back.

Trip to Trapp Family Lodge 2008

I spent a week up at the Trapp Family Lodge in May at one of the guest houses. The weather this year more rainy and cooler than last year. However, in May, this is normal. On Monday, it even snowed for a little while. The week was relaxing as usual, it's a very nice place to get away to. Last year was warmer even though the stay was one week prior compared to this year.

They had an open house at one of their Villas, these are larger than the guest houses. They are still in the process of building them. However, since they are fractional owned instead of being time shares, they may wait until the number of owners is sufficient being starting construction.

By chance, there was a meeting of Classic Bentley owners at the Lodge. I wish it had been less rainy for them. There were quite a few of them and each day they took a 'tour' around the countryside.

I purchased a new camera before the trip, so the pictures I took are much nicer compared to the photos last year with my phone.

Armadillo Hill Country Classic 2008

The Armadillo Hill Country Classic was held on May 10th starting in Liberty Hill TX, proceeding west and north up toward Bertram and Burnet before returning to Liberty Hill. The first 3 to 4 hours of the were overcast but warm and humid. The clouds eventually burned away and the temperatures were in the 90s by the end of the ride. There was a pretty large crowd there, we had to park in the empty fields next to the high school.

I ran into one of my friends from work before the start. He had ridden his bike there from his house, about 20 miles I believe. He said he'd do the ~60 mile distance to get a total ride distance of 100 miles for the day.

At the start, they did not organize the riders according to distance, but I imagine alot of the longer riders made their way to the front of the pack before the start. And shortly after, the stronger riders would naturally get past the slower riders, but dealing with that can be tedious and a little dangerous.

Along the way, at one of the rest stops was the 'Dillo Gate', you had to be past that point by a certain to be able to continue on the two longer distances. If not, they diverted you onto the 50 mile route. I was able to get past it in time. I proceeded to the rest stop that marked the turnaround for the 2nd longest distance, 80 miles. I felt ok so I proceeded to do the extra loop for the longest distance. There were some roads under construction in that extra loop, down to bare dirt, not the best surface for skinny road tires, I worry about getting a flat, or losing control on that sort of surface. Fortunately, neither happened.

By the time I finished, the bulk of riders had finished and left. There were a couple riders I passed toward the end that obviously had run out of energy, they were proceeding at a very slow rate. They had some subs and plenty to drink at the end, that was greatly appreciated.

This was the longest ride I've done by a just a little (the Outlaw Trail is just about the same distance).

A few pictures of the ride can be found here.

Red Poppy Ride 2008

The Red Poppy Ride was held April 26th starting in Georgetown, TX, and proceeding through the rolling farmland east of town. The weather was very nice, with a gentle northwesterly breeze. The night before, a large line of thundershowers had passed through, however there was little if any water remaining on the roads. The starter warned us of a parked car just after the start - his car. He placed it there to make us divert around a slick spot since it was at the apex of a curve that exited the parking lot.

The route was the same as last year. I ended up stopping at different rest stops this year, and they did not have the 'theme' at each stop as they had done the prior year. I thought that was a pretty good idea.

The ride was enjoyable, I made good time, not as good as last year though, but on that ride I was able to stay with a faster group for quite a while. On this one, there were some smaller groups I rode with for a while.

I had a few hot dogs at the end, probably not the best kinda food to eat, but after riding 100K, I could afford it.

The evening of the ride saw another set of storms, it was fortunate that ride occurred between some rather nasty weather.

I took a few pictures along the way, you can view them here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rosedale Ride 2008

Been a while since my last post...

I rode in the Rosedale Ride (a fund raising event for the Rosedale School. The Rosedale School is Austin’s only school for children with multiple disabilities) this year. Last year I ran into the big group of riders participating in the ride, going in pretty much the opposite direction since I was out somewhat later than the start of the ride - and didn't know about it! This year I planned on signing up early but sorta forgot and didn't find out about it until the day before. Fortunately, I've been riding all winter long, thus, I was in shape to do the 100km route.

This ride is early in the year, this year, it was on March 29th. It was not too cool, but definitely not warm and remained overcast for the duration of the ride. And, other than a few stray raindrops, it remained dry. The weekend was split between a cool front coming through on Friday, with the front backing up as a warm front on Saturday. As it turned out, the timing was good, with the front not coming with it's rain until overnight on Saturday into Sunday. Thus, for the ride, there was a modest N/NE wind for the duration.

There were alot of riders this year, somewhere near 1,500, with the mass start of the 100k riders, they shutdown Parmer Lane to let out the 1st big grouping. The portion of the ride at the starting and ending miles were roads I normally ride, the remainder to the north. Some of these I recognized from the other rides I'd done last year, the Red Poppy and Outlaw Trail rides.

Ride stats:
Time: 3:30:56
Distance: 63.30 miles
Average MPH: 18.00
Maximum Speed: 34.60

I have a few pictures posted but have had difficulties with Bluetooth on my PC causing crashes, so I've not gotten them all copied as of yet, I'll keep plugging away at it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Signed up for the Challenge

Registration for the 08 LIVESTRONG Challenge opened yesterday, and I went ahead and signed up. I'm still thinking about what customizations I should do to my donation page. I have been keeping up the riding pretty well with the colder weather. I need to update my riding page though, it is somewhat out of date (there were some issues with Firefox and the Google Pages setup, they were not happy with each other for a while).