Monday, March 29, 2010

SPRING RIDES INTERSPERSED WITH RAINY DAYS

Now into our second straight day of cool, rainy, cloudy weather, I’m really looking forward to the predicted warm up and clearing up of Western North Carolina temps and skies beginning on Tuesday. Right now, it looks like we’ll be back in the low 60’s and mid 70’s for the rest of the week, which should provide some excellent spring riding opportunities here in the Great Smokies.

Sunday turned out to be a really, really good day to do some resistance training. I got in a couple of hours during some lulls in the, at times, heavy rain. My program consisted of placing 40 lb bags of a grainy material into a hopper on wheels that had a rotary cylinder in the bottom allowing the grainy material to slowly be ejected. I did several sets of these on increasing and decreasing gradients while going from heavier weights to lighter weights. Had you been secretly watching me, you probably would have sworn that I was putting out fertilizer on our yard rather than honing my skills as an “accomplished cyclist to-be”. Given that we live on a mountain, there was ample opportunity for changing the degree of incline that I was forced to push these objects upon. It didn’t do a lot for my cardio function barely getting me into “fat burning” territory. It did however, put some decent workload on my calves, quads, lower back, and forearms.

I did have the opportunity to get in a nice 20 mile commute home at the end of the work week. I chose one of my usual routes down NC 209, along the Pigeon River to Clyde, NC and then up NC 110 as I pedaled through the Pigeon Valley. The late afternoon temps were in the mid-70’s and very pleasurable feeling. I was somewhat surprised at the lack of signs of spring.

While running along the river, I noted that the bulbs are not popping up out of the ground yet nor are the yellow bells showing signs of breaking into bloom.   I imagine that will change drastically over the next couple of weeks. A few garden spots have been plowed and the soil readied for planting. I spotted only two other cyclists on the road that day.  I didn’t recognize either one. One fellow has a nice steady cadence coming up NC 209 as I went north on it. The second cyclist was moving at a race pace and down on his aero bars as I ran along the Pigeon toward Clyde. I was going up river and he was travelling down river.

The local group rides are beginning to reform for the year. A Wednesday afternoon ride beginning at 3:30 p.m. seems to be in the offing as does the usual Tuesday and Thursday evening rides beginning around 5:30 p.m. I will probably be riding solo on Tuesdays as I commute home but am hoping to join the Thursday evening group this year. These guys are all more seasoned cyclists than myself and ride at a higher pace. I’m looking forward to determining if I can hang onto their back wheels! Also, on the horizon, the Wood-man and I are planning some longer rides this year with our first one targeted to be about 70 miles in length. It will probably be a loop to nearby Asheville and back one sunny Sunday afternoon.

I’m thankful that Congestion Charley has moved on. It is good to be able to breathe freely again. I’m hoping that he or one of his cousins doesn’t make a visit to my “best half” in the next few days!

OTHER NEWS: Take a moment and jump on over to Cycling Experiences to review racer profiles for this year’s upcoming Race Across America. Jim has done a top notch job, as always, at presenting some rider bios and a very good promotional video on RAAM.

Until later,

-Zeke

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