Riding Pedal Thru The Pines

I had been wavering on what rides to do in the coming months and solicited feedback from everyone. I appreciate those who voiced their opinion in my poll. I have gone ahead and registered for the first ride which will be on March 6th. I’ll be doing the Metric Century (65 miles) in the Pedal Thru The Pines ride. It promises to be a beautiful ride outside of Austin in Bastrop, TX. The ride is hosted by and benefits Family Crisis Center. There’s still time to register for all of you on the fence, so come on out and join the fun! I hope to get a couple of other long rides in before then, but we’ll see how the schedule goes. Several of my Team Austin Cycle Camp peeps have registered, so it should be lots of fun.

Product Review: CarboRocket

Part of my blogging idea was to have periodic product reviews. This just so happens to be the first one of those. I’ve been an avid reader of the Fat Cyclist blog since I starting riding last year, anyone who reads Eldin’s blog knows he’s a big fan of CarboRocket. I’m always looking to try different products and find that ‘magic fit’ of drinks, eats and recovery goods. I signed up for the CarboRocket newsletter and was shipped a couple of samples. The first round must have been mistaken by the USPS as some interplanetary ballistic missile components as I received a package that contained a completely destroyed envelope and packets. I got ahold of the guys at CR and they gladly shipped me a new sample. The last couple of rides I’ve been on I mixed up CR and had it in one bottle. The mix has about 100 calories so it’s a good option to intake some of your fuel needs via liquid. The flavors I got to try were Raspberry Lemonade and Kiwi Lime. The taste was good, smooth and not over-powering. All things I appreciate on a bike. It is a bit different from if you’re used to the ‘major players’ in sports drinks. However unlike those drinks, CR doesn’t contain a bunch of crap in it and is made from all-natural ingredients. The mix also doesn’t have any protein, for their explanation click here. It’s got a 2:1 balance of Maltodextrin to Fructose. You can buy 25 servings for about 20 bucks so the price is on par too. All in all a great product and I look forward to trying it again. Word on the street is they are going to sponsor a ride for my team- Austin Cycle Camp. Gee, I wonder who made that call? 🙂CarboRocket samples

Which Rides for March?

I’m having a hard time choosing what to ride this March, help me pick.

Rainy Riding & Paying it Forward to Kids

Okay, so this post was totally supposed to go up last week, but if you follow me on twitter than you know I was pounding away at two trade shows, on in OKC then back in Austin. So needless to say life was crazy. I’ll post about this weekend later.

Anyway, I was in need of a mental health day so I got the chance to slip away with some of my Austin Cycle Camp peeps for a ride. The route was to take us from our normal south meeting spot (the Coffee Bean) up part of 360 then out Bee Caves and hit a little hill on the way back. I was excited because being a north-sider, I had only driving down Bee Caves and it looked like a fun bunch of rollers. Today was a special ride for a couple of reasons though. First it had stopped (kinda) raining. It’s been more like Seattle lately than Austin so we were all very excited to be outside and not get soaked. Also, our Team Austin Cycle Camp kits had finally arrived! We would be the first group who actually got to roll out sporting our new goods!back of the AC2 jersey

The jerseys are pretty sweet if I do say so myself. The back is full of our rocking sponsors like Grease Monkey Wipes and of course Coffee Bean.getting ready to roll out in the AC2 kits Anyway we roll out and endure the cold hard winds in our face on the way out. I was right about Bee Caves, it does have some nice rollers. It was also fun having riders like Alexis along who are like rabbits that slingshot out and then you get to play catch up coming back down the hills. We make our turn around point and regroup for a few minutes. The return route was awesome, the wind on the back, some extra downhill decent, it was just great! After we returned I felt invigorated. We climbed over 2,000 feet in 30 miles. That was the total climbing for the LiveStrong Challenge I did in October and thought I might die. It would appear that the group rides I’m suffering through with AC2, and the hill repeats on my own seem to be paying off. We did end up finding some water towards the end of the route. But what’s more fun than breaking in a new jersey with a little mud?!?

That afternoon I got the privilege to be a part of something very cool. A local elementary school had decided to participate in a program called Freikers (FREquent bIKER, rhymes with biker). waiting in line for free helmets & fittingThey are the first school in the state of Texas to take up this program. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo with the kidsThere’s a tower mounted at the school run off of a solar panel. Each kid gets a RFID inside their helmet to check-in each time they ride. The can earn prizes for most number of rides, etc. The school will also receive recognition for number or rides against other schools. A combination of efforts from the Austin Cycling Association, Social Cycling ATX, Trek Bikes, Bicycle Sport Shop, and the Texas Bicycling Coalition really put together an awesome kickoff. There was a bike rodeo where Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo rode with the kids and a bike tune-up & repair stand. In addition to that over 300 helmets were donated and properly fitted for the kids! It was very humbling to be a little part of this great event. Props to everyone involved! I really hope that after other schools in the area see the success of this program that it will spread like a wildfire. Such a great concept! There’s already so many kids that ride their bikes to school, why not reward it and encourage others to do the same? Not to mention properly fitting their helmets and teaching about bike safety. You can see more pictures and read about the Statesman’s coverage here.

Freezing Weather, Dogs & Videocameras

Okay, so I realize it is indeed winter. But it’s really beginning to put a cramp on my riding. I was all prepped to do a fun ride with my Austin Cycle Camp peeps but it rained… a lot. So Saturday comes and my wife and her running buddy braved an 11 mile run first thing in the morning. After they return from the frozen tundra, I decided that I absolutely must get out and log some miles. S0 I suit up and head out. “IT’S FREAKIN COLD OUT” is all that is running through my mind. The temperature was in the upper 30’s with a nice wind whipping. I kept telling myself that the sun was coming out and it would eventually warm up. I was doing one of my normal routes that goes out from Round Rock, into the outskirts of Pflugerville, up through Hutto and back home. I was shooting for 30+ miles to call it a good day. I left mid-day and was kinda hungry so I stopped at the Cele Store for a quick BBQ sandwich and to warm up. This brings up an interesting point about being aware of your surroundings. I have ridden by this store I don’t know how many times but never really paid attention to it. Then my good friend Jim (who has had a lot to do with me getting into cycling) sent me this video of L.A. back in 1994 out riding in the country in Austin. Jim’s coming in town this April and thought it would be cool to visit the places in the video. After watching it and looking up some info, I realized that the Cele Store that he stopped at is on the route I ride a lot! And I had never been there! Anyway, it’s a very quaint little place, only open a couple of times a week, and serves some dang good BBQ on Saturdays. Back to the point, I’m going to try to pay more attention to the places that I ride by.

After a calorie reload, I put my gloves & hat back on and head out into the cold again. The unfortunate part for me now, is that I have to turn into the wind for my return. Major suck factor. Just sayin’. I’m cruising along in the country and this truck passes me, slows down then waits. I see a camera sticking out of the car window so I try to ride by without getting in their way. The truck then starts rolling along with me. The guy asks if Lance is in the area. I responded, “no he’s doing a mountain bike race down south this morning.” The guys then wanted to know if I had seen him or if he ever rides in the area (all the while they were videotaping me). After laughing about this with some friends later on, one told me I should have said, “yeah Lance is a few miles back there, I passed him up.” That would have been clever and funny, but I was too cold for that. I thought it was odd they were videotaping me, the only thing I can come up with was that with my LiveStrong helmet and my massive calves they had mistaken me for L.A. (cue uncontrollable laughing). I continuing on my way to suffer in the hands of the frozen wind when I roll up on some nice unfenced homesteads. On cue I hear the standard dog bark. However this time, I see the little fella running towards me. *Awesome* I was in the mood for a sprint interval anyway! I mash my gears, and he’s doing a pretty good job staying on my wheel. (I plan on going back to ask him for pointers on that later). I’m figuring I’ll drop him any second, then realize that I’m quickly approaching a corner. Just before I decide to pull out some crazy move I’ve seen on Le Tour, the dog backs off and I make peace with my brakes. The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful and pretty much consisted of me lamenting in the freezing headwind. I make it home, take a hot shower and call it good.

I was glad I got the ride in as it brought my total January miles to 321. It meets one of my goals, but I felt it could have and should have been more. But it IS only January, and it’s cold, and it’s been wet.

As a side note, yesterday’s cold made me decide to opt for a lunchtime run instead of riding. I did just over four miles and can now proclaim it is indeed easier to run in the cold than it is to ride in the cold. Don’t misinterpret. I didn’t say it’s easier to run than to ride. I made it four miles and wanted to pass out, I can do 60 on the bike before that happens. I leave that type of jesting/betting to fatty. Here’s to happy riding.

Cycling in Bakersfield, CA

Last week I had to spend the week in Bakersfield, California for my company’s Channel Partner Kickoff event and our annual Christmas Party. Quite a few of my coworkers that live there are cyclists, so I thought I would capitalize on the time out there, borrow a bike and not miss any training miles. I blasted out an email to the guys and got a response from one of our developers, Carson said he had an extra bike I was welcome to use “but I break I buy.” Score!

The trip turned sucky as soon as we made it to Bakersfield. It was raining. Now, just to clarify, I’m not some chump who won’t ride in the rain. In fact I enjoy it, but not the hour long process of cleaning your bike when you get done. Anyway, I go to Carson’s house to get the bike and notice him finishing putting on some new bar tape on a sweet Trek Madone 5.9. He told me he was just about done with the bike. I commented about which bike am I riding?? Turns out he just purchased a new Madone 5.9 and hasn’t gotten around to selling his ‘old’ one yet. This takes bike envy to a whole new level folks. I’m about to mount up on a full carbon, full Dura-Ace beast for the week. It was still sprinkling, but we decide to go ahead and roll out so I could at least make it to the hotel. It was an enjoyable 11 miles or so on an incredible bike path that the city runs. This thing runs a total of 30 miles through the city, all paved! Anyway, it was cold and wet, so we call it good after 45 minutes. I spend the next hour cleaning the bike like a mad-man in the hotel room (see earlier note on dislike of this part.)

The rest of the week it proceeded to rain every day. I couldn’t muster up the strength to take out this gem of a bike on another rainy day. My luck turned better on Wednesday afternoon, when after we finished our sessions that I snuck back out for another 30-45 minutes. I’m still reeling from the fact that I had a perfect opportunity to ride a marvel of a bike, but ended up getting rained out all week. Keep in mind the city of Bakersfield only gets 3-4 inches a week. (it rained more last week)

What is this?

Okay, so I began creating this blog last month, but never got around to finishing the setup. I decided a while back that it might be cool for me to create a blog about my cycling adventures. If you read the ‘about me’ page, I describe how we have come to this point. But why would it be fun to blog about it? Well for one, I tend to forget things very easily so writing it down helps. Two, I also like to tell other people what I think (if they listen/read or not that’s another story). Three, I also like to talk about products (hint hint), people, places & things relating to cycling. So be forwarned about what you’re getting yourself into. That being said, away we go! I hope you enjoy the ride!

BTW, what’s with the name of the blog? I’m a biking n00b, but that was already taken. Nevermind the point that I’m working hard to NOT be a n00b anymore. I wanted something catchy and this is what I came up with. Oh yeah, and it’s my fundamental rule for cycling “keep 2 wheels down.”