Thursday, February 17, 2011

SMACK DAB INTO A TRAINING RIDE!

We have been blessed, spoiled, ruined by a surge of warm spring –like weather here in the mountain of Western North Carolina. This period has been going on almost a week now. Sunny skies and mid 50’s to lower 60’s weather for daytime temperatures. Most of my cycling buds have been taking full advantage of it by getting out and about on the local roads. My plans yesterday (Wednesday, February 16th) were to carpool to work with the Navigator and then get a good ride home post work. While at lunch, I ran into Wolfpen Andy, who was itching to ride and indicated he would join me…

We started out right on time, chatting as we spun our way out of town and onto the route we chose to get to nearby Canton and then upriver to my home in Bethel. Wolfpen advised me that he spent the winter months in spinning classes 2 to 3 times a week and had been working on his climbing. He already has a 40 mile ride under his belt for this new season – It showed.

I advised him that I had done virtually nothing since late November 2010. Zero riding in December and zero workouts. I had only 2 days in January and that was the last two days of the month where I was out on the road. Sure, there was the occasional spin on the trainer and a couple of sessions on the treadmill as I watched the Tour Down Under. There was also the more than occasional pizza and the quite frequent stomach crunches from within the confines of my recliner – It showed…

Wolfpen Andy was consistently opening up gaps of up to 1/8th a mile on me yesterday as I struggled and failed to hold his rear wheel. I noted on my bike computer that we were consistently maintaining a 88 – 90 rpm cadence, which is about 10 rpms higher than my normal mid-ride rate and a good 20 rpms over my average (for all rides over the past 3 years) rate. My heart rate was consistently hovering around 164 bpm and getting up to 173 bpm when my max, for my age, is a theoretical 165. (I’ve never put too much stock in this number as I regularly exceed my theoretical max so I just see it as a measure of energy output.)

Somewhere between Clyde and Canton, I came to the brilliant observation that my enjoyable commute home had run smack dab into a training ride!  Don’t get me wrong – I was very pleased with this unplanned event. I was amazed at how Wolfpen would, without noticeable effort, simply pull away from me. I would say his winter season workouts have paid off in great dividends this early part of the season. I may have to consider his approach next winter…

We made it to Bethel Grocery just as the last of the day’s sunlight was dropping below the mountain ridge and darkness was beginning to cover the landscape. Wolfpen called his spouse to come get him and I contacted the Navigator to see if she was headed home so I wouldn’t have to ride/walk up the mountain to the house. She informed me the choice was to get pizza for supper or come pick me up. Knowing how I had dropped off Wolfpen’s rear wheel in this workout, I quickly opted for – Pizza! I told the Navigator I would see her at the house and I headed out on the final mile of the ride home.

While at the Bethel Grocery Store, we noted lots of unmarked law enforcement cars along with some marked ones and a number of our local deputies strapping on bullet proof vests. We decided that a drug bust was about to get underway somewhere nearby. I’ll be looking for news of it in our local paper.

I MUST BE IMPORTANT…

Don’t take this as a sign of narcissism, i.e., having an unrealistic sense of my self worth. My only reason for thinking this is because EVERYBODY WITH A CAUSE seems to want me to contact my local legislators on the Federal, State, and County levels for them. Apparently, these folks think my 180 pound frame carries some weight with the powers that be. I’ve seemingly been contacted by just about everybody except the “Blind Labrador Retrievers Support Fund” asking me to beg my legislators not to cut their funds.

I keep wondering how, if nothing gets cut, are things going to be different. I mean, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that we either have to raise revenues or cut costs or some reasonable mixture of the two in order to get out of this economic mess we’re in. Since doing something reasonable hasn’t seemingly happened in a number of years and no one wanting to get reelected seems to want to raise revenues, it would appear to leave cutting costs as the remaining option.

So, I find myself wondering, on a personal level, what cost cutting should be minimized? I finally decided that, of all the important causes out there, the one long term one that I felt compelled to speak out in support of was the Transportation monies available for multi-modal and alternative forms of transportation. It seems incredibly short sighted to me to go backwards on developing avenues to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, reduce our health care costs, and to treat Mother Earth in healthier manners. So, my contact to my legislators went out asking that any cuts to transportation funds be minimized and that funding for multi-modal and alternative forms of transportation be maximized within whatever funds are available. I guess we’ll see if my 180 pounds along with millions of other individuals carries any weight with the “powers that be.”

NEW TECHNICAL TWIST…

In an effort to keep up to speed with the technical advances available to us, I have today attempted to setup automatic feeds of this blog to Facebook. Thanks to my friend and fellow blogger Jim Artis for the help in getting Twitterfeed active. Hopefully, my settings are correct. Time, as in all things, will tell…

Until later,

- Zeke

Post a Comment