Sunday proved to be a very reasonable day for road biking, cool temps but plenty of sun to help us forget about cold fingers and toes. A group from Northern Colorado Grassroots Racing (NCGR; myself, Brad, Mike, and Bryan) and one guest (Kia) rolled from the shop at about 1230 heading west towards Horsetooth Reservoir and eventually Eden Valley not far from Masonville. The valley is a local favorite, few cars, excellent surfaces, and plenty of beautiful front range vistas. The ride was extended (strava) due to a bridge that remains closed since the floods last year. We backtracked to the Eden Valley turn off, headed south and then eventually back north towards Horsetooth Mountain Open Space on Glade Road. This whole area is an exceptional place to ride. Seemed unanimous, every rider was feeling good and happy that they decided to show up for the group ride! This is the second week in a row that NCGR organized a ride. Last week's ride was cut-short due to severe winds. At one point last week, while descending into Masonville, I had to tilt my head to the left to avoid catching a tumbleweed in the face! Usually they roll, last Sunday they were flying!
Quick Training Update: Since 1 February, I've completed all of my scheduled training, over 50 hours ... about 15 hours per week. Most of this has been in the form of low intensity base miles on the bike, often on the trainer. I've not taken a day off since 3 February, I feel strong but definitely feeling some fatigue from so many days without a break. My plan is to take 1-2 days at the beginning of March to rest ... then return to 15 hour weeks until the end of the month.
Despite a windy weekend here on the Front Range in Colorado, coolish to warm temps prevailed on Saturday and Sunday. I was fortunate to ride with Rob Collett on Saturday (strava), also a member of the North Colorado Grassroots Racing team (NCGR); and Sunday provided my first group ride with NCGR. On the group ride, we approached and rode through Masonville in wind gusts that were very likely uprooting vegetation. This resulted in a much shorter ride than we had planned, but still a great social opportunity and plenty of sweating for all as we made our way up the many hills on our shortened route (strava).
At the turn-around point in a route, heading back towards Horsetooth Mountain Park and then Fort Collins, the same wind that had mistreated us dug into our shoulders and I responded by slowly cranking the Giant TCR Composite 1 up to it's fastest gear combination. I thought the others would have done the same, but soon I was rolling alone in a quiet space ... the wind pushing ... no longer blowing in my ears ... it's a perfect space to be on a bicycle. I made 'personal record' time on the climb that ends at Horsetooth Mountain Park, and then tested the speed of the new whip as I descended towards Blue Sky Trail parking area. Top speed on the descent was 51.3 mph, probably a personal land speed record. Not bad for a 17 lb bike with a 160 lb rider. I'm sure the bike can go much faster, one of these days I'll drop it off the north dam and see if I can hit 60! Stay tuned ...
Stopped into my local REI Store in Fort Collins today to purchase some bike food and stumbled on a much better deal than I had anticipated: GU Energy Gels for 99 cents each! As a member, you'll save an additional 5% which brings the price down even more. I bought six boxes (24 gels each) plus two containers of my favorite powder, Hammer Perpetuem. REI threw-in an additional 10% discount on the Hammer products, always a great experience shopping at REI! If you live in Fort Collins and use GU Energy Gels then consider stocking-up. Here's why: last week I searched the internet exhaustively in preparation for making a bulk purchase - basically all the gels I would need for the spring and summer. The best deal on GU Energy Gels I could find was (as I recall) about 95 cents/gel. By making the purchase today at REI, I avoided shipping, of course, plus the 5% for being a member probably brought me close to 95 cents per gel. If you're outside of Fort Collins, you might find the same deal in your local REI store.
Other news from Race Headquarters, as of this evening I've finished my first full week of training in 2014. You may recall that I tweaked my back on Saturday (first day of training), this resulted in two days of almost no activity including Monday. I gingerly returned to the bike (trainer) on Tuesday for a 1 hr 30 min spin with no issues, and also spent a short 20 minutes in the gym testing ... also no issues. This evening, I set-out to make up for some lost time and was successful, I completed my longest ride on the trainer to date, 3 hrs 30 minutes, and felt strong: pushed for most of 3 hours at a moderate pace for my body, equivalent to a heart rate (HR) of 130-140 beats per minute; then concluded with a mellow (HR 100-120) cool down.
Lastly, I wanted to say thank you and share related good news: on the day that I launched André Breton Racing I had a total of 120 visits from 74 visitors and 616 page views. All these stats and more were provided by Google Analytics for free by following simple directions from Weebly (the software I used to build the web site, also free). For those of you that visited that day, I wanted to say thank you for stopping in! Some of you also sent feedback, it was all positive, I'm grateful, thank you. Let's hope for some warm weather soon on the Front Range so I can get off the trainer and on the road.
Thanks to a very generous discount from one of my sponsors, Full Cycle bike shop in Fort Collins, Colorado, I now have a road bike in my fleet for the first time. It's my first big expense for the 2014 training and racing season, $1978 dollars, but it's also a screaming deal on a high-end carbon road bike: Giant TCR Composite 1. The bike arrived to the shop just before closing on Monday and was assembled before breakfast. Much appreciate the shop guys at Full Cycle for taking such good care of their customers. Unfortunately, the weather has not been ideal for rides or photos, including today ... temperature was -4 F as I rode to the gym and back. In the meantime, I've been spinning on a trainer loaned to me by my generous coach, Alex Hagman. Just another example of what seems to be a rule, cyclists are good people. I'm looking forward to testing the new whip on the road as soon as possible, which realistically may be two weeks from now.
As of 1 February, I've been officially back in training mode. The first few days, due to snow and tweaked back, were not very productive! But I'm happy to report that I'm feeling healthy after a few days of recovery. On schedule, I've completed 1.5 hrs of spinning daily since Tuesday. Coach Alex and I had a great lunch time discussion at Snooze in Fort Collins Saturday afternoon. I came away feeling excited about 2014. For the next few weeks, I will be putting-in a minimum of 15 hours of training: bike, gym, running and playing soccer. I hope to be in the best shape of my life by the time I arrive in Cortez, Colorado for my first long distance mountain bike race for 2014, 12 hours of Mesa Verde.