Riding Saturday

Rod and I had no takers today. We were all alone as we rolled through the valley towards Canyon Country. The wind was gentle, nothing like a few weeks ago, but still head on, and we got an earlier start than normal. We were rolling by 730A.

I like this ride. It’s long, steady climbing once you get to Soledad for over 20 miles, usually with a little added wind resistance – which makes the turn around so much fun. Holding 30+ mph for 30 mins can make anyone smile, or at least any of the personalities sharing my body.

We rode out past Acton this time -only about 7 miles, but it’s such a nice area we wanted to keep going. Heidi and Bryce didn’t start with us, but they went all the way to Palmdale today. Good ride you two!

We bumped into Jaime, who we met last time we rode out there. He was with another group this time and they were having a social ride.

I feel tired writing this today and I’m sitting with bad posture on my exercise ball/chair!

A great week ahead with so many activities!

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Jan 30th – CVMM Sunday Ride

The ground was perspiring when we started and It was increasingly humid today on the ride. Brianna said there was a lot of dew out there. In some areas the humidity was coming down in sheets which made seeing rather difficult, but we still had a great ride. I didn’t take any pictures today and I really should have. We were all soaking wet. I rang out my socks before our short run and flooded the parking lot, washing three cars into the construction area. I did leave my contact info on the windshields though.

It seems the weather is having fun with us the last couple of weeks. I wonder what’s in store for us next week…

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Jan 23rd – CVMM Sunday Ride

The day started with me flipping over my bars in the parking lot – had a period when we all had to dismount our bikes because of 50+ mph winds on the coast – and ended with a nice cruiser jog around CLU.

So, I’m unpacking my bike from the trunk and putting it back together for the ride, while talking to Terry and Brianna. Bad idea! Andrew should never multitask. I know, you wouldn’t think that assembling  bike and talking is multitasking, and for your average person it probably isn’t, but for your aging endurance athlete – it seems to be too much to manage. I put the bike together and never put the chain back on the front chain rings. Note to self – always do that first before you forget. I put my watch on the handle bars then bottles in the cages, shut the trunk, put my left foot on the left pedal and threw my right leg over the saddle and on to the right pedal. Then much to my surprise, took a quick pedal stroke and flipped over my bars landing on the backside of my head. The silly things we do.

Otherwise the ride started out just fine. We cruised down Santa Rosa at 30+mph with a steady tailwind and except for a mile here and there with cross winds on Lewis Road, and Los Posas, pretty much got pushed all the way to PCH. This is where the wind was interesting.

Just north of the sand hill on PCH the wind blow us all to a stop and did it’s best to knock us all over. We were standing there holding on to our bikes by the bars and the bikes were floating like flags in the wind parallel to the road. It was incredible. I wish I had taken a picture. The waves were crashing against the rocks and the spray was flying across the highway. It was something to see. I turned my head when a wave of salt water was coming my way and the wind took my Oakley’s and they flew, through the air, all the way across the highway.

It rattled the nerves of a few of us, but we managed to get everyone back on the bikes and continued our ride. Fortunately that was the only place the wind was anywhere near that strong.

We turned up Mulholland and regrouped at the top. I miss counted the group and rode back down a ways looking for our last rider. Ten minutes of looking and I turned around to let the rest of the group go on and saw all ten of us! Must have been the knock on my head to start off the day! I’m usually pretty reliable counting up to 10.

We made our way back down Decker to Westlake and on to CLU for our short run. Exciting day. Everyone will remember this ride for a long time.

I’m tired now. And will be for a while…

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Counting the Hour Swim

The annual hour swim was held today. I was up early and over at the pool by 06:45 to count for Holly. I downloaded a new app for my phone last night that records split and cumulative time every touch of the split button. These phones are amazing and so handy. Oh, and it worked!

In the second round at 09:00, I counted for World’s Strongest Man. It was his first swim in almost 8 years – good way to get started. He got in 4350 yards.

After the swim Rod and I went for a ride up Piuma. I haven’t been up there since the epic day in 2004 when the Kwaz, Jaime, Rudy, Danny and I did it along with Fernwood, Stunt, Mulholland and possibly others. We went up in 33 minutes, nothing like the 21 minutes I was capable of doing in the 80’s and early 90’s, but such is life.

It was a beautiful day for a ride and I took a short video on one of the descents.

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Sunday Ride

Rode again this week with CVMM group, our endless right loop west of Moorpark. Beautiful day for a ride, even though a little skin was left on the road.

Our friend Nico! Hope you’re not too sore tomorrow…

A couple of videos from the ride, just so you can see every one out on such a beautiful day. Four of us went for a very short jog afterwards, although there is no photographic evidence, so you’ll just have to trust me.

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Saturday’s Ride

Three of us rode up to Acton from Woodland Hills today, Andrew Lockton, Rod Shorey and I. It’s about 43 miles to Acton from Rod’s house and, oh boy, the wind was blowing. It was like Alice in Wonderland. No that’s not right. It was like the Wizard of Oz. You know the windy scene when the house is flying and the lady on the bike goes by the window. It was that windy. In our faces all the way up to Acton.

Right near the Fire Dept on top of Balboa, were Mike Arnt used to work, we met up with two other riders, Jaime (pronounced Himie) and Dave.

We passed the spot of the famous tire change of ’88. In the spring of 1988, 6 of us were riding along Soledad Canyon and came upon a young mother and 12 year old boy. They had a flat tire and Rod and I stopped and did a quick change of her tire. She was basically afraid of us. We opened her trunk, took out the spare and jack, while teaching the boy how to change the tire. I remember saying to him, “We aren’t always going to be following you on our bikes, so you’d better remember how to change a tire for your mum.” The whole stop went really smoothly and we were back riding again in just a few minutes. Oh the memories, so many of them.

When we turned around and started to head back, that strong headwind was now at our back and were rode 35 mph for the next 45 minutes. Very different from the 13 mph on the way up, faster is always more fun. But, just being out the bike on a sunny 80° day in January is enough to make you smile, even when you’re legs give out on the way home and every little bump practically stops you.

The sun was so strong I got a sun burn on my back through two jerseys, not to mention my arms and nose. Yes, my nose is now delightfully oversized and red, and with my thinning racing stripe, all I need to do is die my hair orange…

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Getting Wet

I’ve finally been swimming enough! I’m now at the point where I don’t just get in the pool. I wander around on the pool deck for a while before talking myself into getting in the pool. It’s fun to have that feeling again, although I’m surprised it came so quickly.

Today was Fast Friday. We get to swim with fins and paddles. It’s fun to go fast. I can only imagine what it’s like for people who swim that fast all the time. Envy!

After workout we were chatting about the upcoming weekend activities and my Bradventures.com cap flew off into the water. Bummer. I reached for it, but couldn’t quite get it, so I went looking for something longer than my arm. I found a pole in the utility room but the wind had blown it a little further away and I still couldn’t reach it. Hmm. I asked Mike to hold my hand so I could lean over the water and get my hat… and (you guessed it) I pulled us both into the water. Mike with his backpack and camera, fortunately still in it’s water proof shell. Oh my goodness, sorry Mike.

I drove home in soaking wet clothes, shoes, and hat, did a quick change and got back in the car to do some errands. What was I thinking – wet bottom the rest of the afternoon from the car seat. Those darn Hypoxic swim sets, fry my brain. I would never admit to this being a normal day….

Looking forward to a great, sunny, warm, weekend of riding.

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One Leg Drills

Cycling with one leg at a time (or using powercranks) seems to be on topic these days. I’m a big fan of them and did them when I was racing bikes and tris.

When I started to race bikes in 1981, I was living in South Lake Tahoe, CA and got input from Rich Elder (Hook), Marcel Niger (Caveman) and Bob Roll – the latter I’m sure you’ve heard of if you’ve ever watched cycling on OLN or Versus. I started cycling to strengthen my legs in the summer for skiing the next winter. I was a skier – loved to ski -skied every day possible, since I could walk – started skiing between my dad’s legs the winter I was two, on little red skies with bells on the tips. Yes, like an elf! My ski coach suggested I ride my bike in the summer to bulk up my quads – I was 6’1″ and about 135 pounds. I could use some bulk! Some say I still can…..

There was a Tuesday night series of races around the lake, three different courses. One at North Shore (which I can’t really remember except it was “Y” shaped with two turn-arounds), one in the Washoe Valley (a loop course on the west side of HWY 395 by the five mile dead straight section of road between Carson and Reno), and one near Markleeville (on Old Cal 88 and Diamond Valley Rd.) These were great races to start bike racing. They were handicapped and self seeded, with three minute intervals from 15 minutes down to 0.

Rich and I skied together in winter and started riding together that summer. When the races were first suggested to us, we were both unsure, but thought we’d give it a try. Our first race we started 12 minutes ahead of Marcel, expecting him to catch us, and he didn’t. He did get to within a minute or so though. The second race we started 9 minutes ahead of him, again expecting him to catch up, but he didn’t. He got to within a minute again though. Each week we started 3 minutes closer to scratch, until we started with the scratch group – that week Marcel decided to start 3 minutes behind us, all alone! Seems like I’m writing about how great a cyclist Marcel was! Maybe I’m straying off topic, maybe not. He did one leg drills.

When Rich and I started cycling, our intention was to get stronger for skiing, little did we know we’d find more success in our first summer of cycling, then we did in 18 years of skiing. Marcel helped and gave us a bunch of suggestions to help us improve. One of those suggestions was one leg drills. We had fun racing each other around the hills on the south shore. We did our one leg drills up Old Echo Summit, a funky one lane road covered with debris and boulders that parallels HWY 50. It was hard, but like everything we did, we made it fun.

What did we get out of one leg drills? Well there were several things. Let’s say you’re a beginner cyclist or triathlete like we were, one leg drills will make sure you aren’t dominant with one leg, and if you are, help even out your stroke. It helps you get the feel for the pedal stroke, and where to apply the greatest force. It helps you strengthen your hip flexors so one leg isn’t lifting the other. If you’re someone who is overly conscious of pedaling circles, it helps you realize the most powerful part of the stroke. If you’re someone who just pushes down with a bobbing upper-body, it teaches you to pull through and lift up. For most people, one leg drills are very important and should be a regular part of your training routine.

I understand for athletes who are at the top of the sport of triathlon, let’s say the top 100 or so Olympic hopefuls,  one leg drills or powercranks may be too much added stress for the psoas and hip flexors when combined with the fast running needed. But, for everyone else, one leg drills are a valuable piece of the puzzle to increase the efficiency of the pedal stroke and help you ride faster.

I’ve heard most of the arguments against this and except for the very few, a certain amount of one leg drills in your program will help you. I have personal experience as an athlete, mentor, advisor, friend and coach over the last 29 years that makes me extremely confident in my opinion. If you are not Whitfield, Gomez, or a Brownlee, maybe you should add one leg drills to your routine. Odds are, if you are one of these four, you’ve done them!

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Great Weekend of Cycling

Camel on Mulholland

Photo by Andrew Lockton

My first weekend back in Souther Cal was spent primarily on my bike. I rode with Rod Shorey and Andrew Lockton for over 4 hours on Saturday on some pretty hilly terrain until my legs were wobbly. I got dropped on the last couple of hills heading east on Mulholland from Las Virgenes. Fortunately we went by a taxi service, and I caught a ride on a one hump camel home. There was a very hairy two hump available, but I’m not that greedy.

In the evening I went to the 40th bday party of my favorite cousin with brown hair, over 5’6″, living in Southern California with two baby girls! Got to meet all her friends and see Alan’s swollen face from his surfing accident – crazy.

Sunday was the first ride with Conejo Valley Multisport Masters, and had a pretty good turn out, 13. We rode around the Conejo and up the Rock Store climb, down the slightly wet Decker into Westlake Village, with no accidents! (Nancy will be pleased to hear.) A great group! I’m looking forward to next Sunday’s ride. (Feel free to make suggestions for next Sunday) Oh, and we saw my friend the Camel again and his two hump partner in crime.

After fighting with the ceiling fan all afternoon (Karena it only took 6.5 minutes) I met up with The Kwaz, Jazz, Jill and Jordan for some BBQ in TO. Nice to visit and speak loudly with my Tri family.

Monday morning now and my legs are very tired – and I mean very! But I’m sure at some point I’ll absorb the weekend’s rides and be ready to go at it again, with a smile!

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Heading Back To SoCal

Packing everything up today, and getting ready for another long day in the car. I’ve done more long drives this year than any year in my life. I used to dread them. I find them quite easy now. I just sit there, set the cruise control and many hours later I’m there. Tomorrow is thirteen and a half hours, if there isn’t any traffic or detours.

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