Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Shoes on the Way.

My LBS, Race Pace is having a great sale right now on SIDI's and my old shoes never fit correctly anyway, so I took the plunge and ordered a pair of the Genius 5 model. I tried them on and they seem to feel a lot better than my Diadora's so I'm looking forward to putting in a long ride with them to confirm my suspicions. Anyway, they'll be in tomorrow. Yippeeee!

Today's Ride: 2 hours of really easy spinning on mostly flat roads. It was windy out there and on some sections I think I was going under 10mph on flat roads. I saw a lot of riders out on the road too.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again.

It was nice getting back on the road for some quality time with my bike after a wild Christmas feeding frenzy. We went home to my parents and spent a couple days culminating in a little dinner for 30 Saturday night. The car was completely loaded down with gifts on the way home yesterday. The girls made out like bandits. It was non-stop gift opening for those two. Mae got a new bike and Mari got a new iPod. She's listening to ABBA as I type this. Mama Mia. Some things just don't change. Yeah, I know you liked ABBA when you were a kid. I won't tell anyone.

Today's Ride: 4 hours, All pretty easy with few 20 minute harder efforts thrown in. I got to wear my new hat, gloves, socks, tights and long sleeve jersey. A real bike-shop cowboy out there.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fortune Cookie Read of the Day.

Greed trumps brains for far too many people. - Just thinking about the people taken by the Madoff Scandal.

A Sunday in Hell: 1976 Paris Roubaix

I stayed up late last night and watched Jorgen Leth's Documentary on the 1976 edition of the Paris Roubaix. I know when you think of Paris Roubaix visions of rain, mud, cobbles and cow manure dance in your head, but in 1976, as in most years I've learned, the weather was great for a bike race, sunny and relatively warm. What I found particularly fascinating about this race is how the great champions, Merckx, De Vlaemink and Moser really take charge in the races and just pull and pull. They truly were in a league of their own. It's a wonderful DVD. Watch it.

A Side Note: I find it particularly touching knowing that the winner of this 1976 edition of the race died some years later of a heart attack at the age of 31. So sad, yet he died a great champion having won the Queen of the Classics.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Finding New Roads.

Today's ride was all about looking for new roads and I found some good ones. I wanted to do Piney Grove's steep hill but after that it was all pretty much new except the last part near home. Once I crossed over 30 I headed into farm country just to the east of Westminster. I can't believe I haven't ridden these roads before. There are a lot of short steep climbs on relatively traffic free smooth roads. Just outside of Westminster I started heading south until I got to route 32 and the Royal Farms for a quick coffee stop. After that I caught a terrible chill and the downhill sections towards Eldersburg didn't help to warm me up. I ended up by not coming straight home across the reservoir so I could put some extra time and miles in.

Totals: 4.5 hours of riding. Moderate tempo. felt really good, but a little cold.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bad Boys Bad Boys, What You Gonna Do?

The weather here was warm for this time of year so I went out for a late ride and finished in the dark. The rush hour traffic was bad, but the bonus for me was a good draft behind big trucks and slow moving cars. It sounded like WWIII down at the Marriottsville shooting range. Nice to see people are practicing for the coming Armageddon, though I think I heard #8 shot rushing through the tree branches overhead. A little close for comfort.

I stayed in the big ring up over the hill at Patapsco and pushed hard until I hit the rollers on the other side of the railroad tracks past the Korean Christian Church. I wonder what the characters say on the side of the building?

It was pretty uneventful from there until I got back on Liberty at Eldersburg. Liberty is nice because it's about 4 miles of steady downhill all the way to the Reservoir. I can really get moving here. At Georgetown I ran through a yellow light that turned red just as I went under it. I had a bad feeling, and sure enough flashing lights came up beside me and screamed for me to pull over. I stopped on Ridge road and pulled the bike up over the curb and in front of a Christmas Tree place. The skin-headed cop proceeded to scream at me about the dangers of riding stupid to which I agreed completely with before he left me go on my way. He's right and I was stupid. It looked like some lame scene out of the Cops tv show.

From there it was a mad dash to home. Just your average everyday ride. 2 hours of riding which puts me up to about 10 for the week.

Monday, December 15, 2008

One of Those Days.

Have you ever set out on a ride and just new from the start that it was gonna be a good day? I get those once in awhile and had one today so I went hard to see how it would go. There was a fierce headwind out on Marriottsville whacking me in the face but I got in the drops and plowed through it. Then on the way back it seemed like the wind shifted and blasted me again in the face across the reservoir and the rest of the way home. It didn't matter. Now, I know my average speed, elapsed time for this route and average heart rate are only so accurate in telling how I did when there's weather and wind variables to take into account. A power meter would be a great way to see how it "really" went. Ah, that would be great, especially when trying to see how things are progressing over time, but I don't have one of those. What I can do is try to figure out what circumstances over the last few days or weeks got me to have "One of those days." Something I'd have to figure out even if I did have a power meter. So that's the question.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pretty Cool.

I guess the equivalent to previewing the 2009 Giro Route on National TV in the USA would be ESPN airing 14 hours of the NFL Draft, or the Speed Channel showing 400 hours of the Barrett Jackson Classic Car Auction. Bad examples? Probably. But I find it so cool cycling gets such a level of respect somewhere in the world at least. Even with all it's drug scandals it's still the most beautiful sport out there.

I haven't heard this much Italian spoken in one place since my barbershop back in Dunmore, but I still find the video worth watching.

Today's Ride: 2 hours. I felt pretty bad out there so I went super easy. I even stopped for a coffee, something I rarely do.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Long and Sunny Ride.

It was a busy week at work so I was itching (like always) to get out there on the road (indoor riding sucks) and unwind. I decided to take a similar route to last Saturday's ride with a couple more hills and distance added here and there. This one's got around 3050ft of climbing with nothing really steep or long except for that short 18% stretch on Piney Grove. Perfect for this time of year really. I went pretty easy with a few harder efforts on some of the hills and just over 4 hours of riding. The last 15 miles or so were kinda hard for me and I felt like I was nearing a bonk, but all ended fine. I've been trying to watch my weight after last month's food bender and only carrying water on the bike takes it outta ya. I saw some fellow Kelly Benefits guys riding the other way over near Greenspring, some more riders out in Boring and one or two over by I83. Here's hoping tomorrow is as nice as today.

Added Note: My camera phone was stolen last year at the gym, but I'm thinking it's time to get another one so I can take pics and some video during these rides. The scenery out there today was just beautiful. It would be cool to share some of the views.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I was just thinking about Obama's big plan to create a massive public works project that will create 2.5 million new jobs over the next 2.5 years. I think rebuilding our infrastructure is a great idea and think it's long overdue. Hopefully some is spent on alternative transportation and our IT infrastructure. This plan has been estimated to cost anywhere between 400 and 700 billion dollars (plan on doubling that, it's government we are talking about). Money we don't have.

Hey Barack, I have a better idea that won't cost nearly a much. How about temporarily suspending the roughly 1 million work visas the USA gives to foreign workers each year? That will give us 2.5 million new jobs for Americans over the next 2.5 years (same as your plan). On top of that, how about securing our borders for that amount of time to keep illegal immigrants out (like your Auntie) and enforcing our current laws on immigration. That will create another million or so jobs easy. I'm all for LEGAL immigration to the USA and believe it's a great thing for our country. But right now in these tough times, it's time for change we really need and can afford.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Do it for Papa!

Nice cycling related ad I stumbled across. Doesn't the one guy look a bit like Coppi?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Passing Time on an Indoor Trainer.

I don't think podcasts have caught on in a big way on the internet, but they are a great (ok barely tolerable) way to pass time when riding an indoor trainer. A couple of my favorites are Competitor Radio, Icon-O-Cast by Lunar Design, Fred Cycling and The News from Lake Wobegon. I find that if I mix these up with a song or two in between I can get through an hour or so without dying of boredom at 90rpm. I probably should've braved the 25 degree temps, icy roads and 50mph gusts today and went out on the road. I'm such a wuss.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Riding in Snow.

I got a late start and I knew it wasn't gonna end well. Sure enough, I rode the last 45 minutes in slush and snow. Managed to get a 3 hour ride in anyway. A lot of hills.

*Back from Dinner, Wife made some excellent Paella. Tip: If you want a good under $5 ($4 if you look around) bottle of wine with dinner, try Crane Lake. They're all good.

I saw a lot of mountain bikers out there today. Those guys looked they were having fun while I was slipping and sliding around trying to end my ride with a wreck to get it over with. Loch Raven must have some great trails as they seem to congregate there like Catholics to the Vatican. I really gotta dust off the mountain bike.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Go Custom.

Some riders have special needs. Take this particularly well dressed gentleman for example. To the untrained eye, his bike might look pretty much like any other, but noooooo, this bike is made to order and fits him like a glove. You just can't expect this kind of service from the mass-market bicycle manufacturers. Sometimes you gotta go custom.

A Hint?

Sounds to me like Lance is trying to tell us something. Click the pic to see what I mean.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Ridin into the Sunset.

Yeah, I know. Cheeeezy, but tonight's ride at sunset was pretty amazing. I saw one like this over by the Raven's place as I rode by. I didn't have a camera with me so this image courtesy of sweet nostalgia will have to do.

Training Camp Struggle?

Hmmmm. Does it look like Lance is struggling to keep up here or is it just me? Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I learned a long time ago that if you want to see how a guy's doing out there on a ride, look at their face. Of course, this is Lance and he's probably bluffing. Or,... after 5 hours on the road he just needs to take a dump.

Monday, December 01, 2008

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger.

Or something like that. I just got off the trainer tonight and wanted to find something that tries to explain what it's all about. Elizabethan Style Torture, That's what it is.

Lance Is Riding The Tour

I just read on Lance's twitter that he is indeed riding the 2009 Tour de France. Now the question is if he intends to try and win it.

All That is Good Racing.

Sounds like Red Rose Races has risen from the ashes and will be back in 2009 under the All That is Good banner. I got this email from Rich Rouff last night. I guess you can look for a list of races for next year soon! I wish Rich the Best of Luck!

From Rich Ruoff, allthatisgood.org

Hello Friends, associates and people who have no memory of me.

This is my new email address. Please disregard all previous email addresses. I will use this address for my personal and business emails.

By new business is "All That is Good". Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, All That is Good replaces Red Rose Races.com as the preeminent promoter of the best series of epic bicycle road races in the U.S.A. From the Tour de Ephrata to the Tour of Lancaster County and many more Super one-day road races look for a fantastic 2009 season and beyond.

We're not afraid of the economy. Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. All That is Good will create it's own economy! Check out our new website at www.allthatisgood.org.

If you received this email and have no recollection of having ever met me or dealing with me, my apologies. I have developed quite the contact list over the years. Just hit delete.

Richard Ruoff,
Director of All That is Good.